Transportation Modeling

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Transportation Modeling

Transportation systems in our region play a critical role in facilitating movement of people and goods. These systems (similar to any other major infrastructure investment) can take several years to construct and will exist for many decades. Wise planning is needed to help create and maintain high quality transportation facilities and services at a reasonable cost with minimal environmental impact and to enhance economic activity.

The NOACA transportation models provide structured forecasts that establish an understanding of our transportation system performances and impacts of our interventions. These models are powerful transportation planning tools for examining and assessing our interventions as well as for identifying how our transportation system is likely to perform in the future.  

NOACA Travel Forecasting Model

At a macroscopic level, the NOACA Travel Forecasting Model provides insights regarding highway and transit network performances based on projections of future traffic patterns and strategies for our transportation systems expansions, improvements, and capacity enhancements. This model has been developed based on many mathematical models and relies on equations to capture the relationships between system capacity and traffic flow. During the recent update process, the NOACA modeling team added several technical enhancements.

The existing NOACA trip-based travel demand model is a travel forecasting tool for evaluating current and future travel by various modes. In a travel demand model, the modeling area is split into smaller zones, called Traffic Analysis Zones (TAZ). The number of TAZs is an important factor in developing more realistic model outputs. In the recent update, the number of TAZs were increased from 1,236 to 6,000. Additionally, the daily trips were split into five modeling periods including:

  1. Early Morning
  2. AM Peak
  3. Mid-day Off-Peak
  4. PM Peak
  5. Night Time

Now, modeling highway and transit networks has much more detail including minor streets and transit services. Additionally, in order to capture trips from northeast to southwest through Summit, Portage, and Wayne Counties, the model now includes the AMATS region

Adding all these details obviously increases the model run time, but the updated version of the NOACA travel demand model now utilizes the parallel processing technique and this enhancement decreases the model run-time substantially.   

What's Next?

The NOACA modeling team, in cooperation with ODOT, is developing an activity-based travel demand model which will analyze travel even more realistically at the person level. Finally, in the near future, NOACA will utilize two travel forecasting models: A trip-based model and an activity-based model. The NOACA modeling team is also utilizing the microscopic behavior-based multipurpose traffic flow simulator to evaluate various traffic policies in details. 

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