The National Academies

NCHRP 08-36/Task 137 [Completed]

Assessing the Utility and Costs of Statewide Travel Demand Models
[ NCHRP 08-36 (Research for the AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $125,000
Research Agency: RAND Corporation
Principal Investigator: Greg Erhardt
Effective Date: 6/20/2016
Completion Date: 6/20/2017



There has been considerable interest among state DOTs in developing a statewide travel demand model (STDM). It is our understanding that approximately half of all states have an operational statewide model. The motivation for having a STDM stems from the desire for statewide consistency in data input, modeling assumptions, and forecasting methods. Statewide models are designed to meet the following objectives:

a)      serve as a way to connect model outputs of converging MPOs,

b)      allow for forecasting of rural and intercity travel,

c)      improve a DOT’s ability to evaluate various transportation policies, improvements and planning scenarios, and

d)     improve the understanding of interstate and intrastate commodity movements.


With limited resources, state transportation agencies must carefully weigh the anticipated benefits against the costs of building and maintaining a statewide model.  Today, data is more readily available and often at lower cost.  This research would examine the costs and utility among a sampling of those states that currently maintain a STDM.  Assuming that statewide models provide greater value in certain scenarios but not all, the sample would include a cross section of states, from small to large, from urban to rural, including states that are experiencing strong growth as well as those that are not.  The proposed research would summarize costs, both initial and recurring. The research would document how the statewide model is used in support of multimodal planning and, to the extent practical, quantify the value of these models.


Project Objective

a)    Identify the array of users and applications of  STDMs, and

b)   Identify the challenges, costs, and benefits of developing a model.


Status: Final report is complete.  Also released as part of the final report are the following: an Executive Summary, and a PPT Presentation

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