Southeast Florida FSUTMS Users Group Meeting Travel Demand Forecasting and Model Application

APA Florida Chapter, Broward Section


Friday, March 16, 2018
9 a.m. - noon EDT

Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States

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The topic of the March 16, 2018 FSUTMS Users Group Meeting is Travel Demand Forecasting and Model Application. The meeting includes three presentations:

The first presentation is titled “TransFuture-A Next-Generation Scenario Planning Tool”, and It will be given by Mr. Santanu Roy of HDR

 The following is the abstract of the presentation:

 The transportation industry is on the verge of a paradigm shift. Emerging technologies and societal trends (automated and connected vehicles, shared mobility, the rise of the robots, millennial travel preferences, e-commerce, etc.) will change the world as we know it today. Given the amount of unknowns, today’s planning tools are falling short of answering the policy questions of tomorrow. At this juncture, FDOT invented TransFuture – a next-generation, probabilistic, scenario planning tool to help the decision makers understand the potential impacts of the emerging trends and make the right decisions to take advantage of the transformation of the industry. Join this presentation to find out how the tool was developed, how it functions, how the results provide value beyond traditional scenario planning and how it can be useful for your next project.

 The second presentation is titled “Shared Mobility Simulations: Getting a Peak at Our Transportation Future”, by Mr. Louis A. Merlin, Ph.D., of Florida Atlantic University

The following is the abstract of the presentation:

With the rapid advent of highly automated vehicles, many transportation analysts and researchers are anticipating the growth of new transportation modes.  The new mode most commonly anticipated is often called the “shared automated vehicle” or SAV.  These modes would be like an automated Uber – they would come to a passenger upon electronic hailing, pick them up at or close to their origin, and then deliver them to their destination without a transfer. SAVs are a shared mode in that the vehicle is not owned by the passenger, rather being provided by a service provider who owns and manages the vehicle fleet.  SAVs combine the convenience of point-to-point travel on demand, at any time of day or night, without having to deal with the financial and logistical burdens of vehicle ownership, i.e. parking, vehicle maintenance, and vehicle insurance.  As such, many transportation analysts are anticipating a rapid growth of SAV mode share after such services are introduced.

Because these proposed SAV modes do not exist yet, it is particularly difficult to anticipate their impacts, especially at the transportation-system scale. Researchers have begun to investigate the potential impacts of SAVs through modeling and simulation by asking various what-if questions, i.e. what if an SAV system served 2% of existing trips in a metropolitan region?  In this presentation I will provide a broad overview of such simulation efforts, their strengths, and their limitations. The presentations include recommendations for such simulation efforts to make them more transparent and generalizable.

I will briefly review my own research results regarding the potential replacement of public transit with SAVs for Ann Arbor, Michigan. Then I will conclude by discussing some interesting results from the International Transport Forum regarding the potential for new shared mobility modes to transform the transportation system in Portugal based on a very detailed model of travel behavior.

The third presentation is titled “Making Activity-based Models Easier to Use-Subarea Modeling Examples”, by Mr. Joel Freedman of RSG.

The following is the abstract of the third presentation. 

Over the past ten to fifteen years, many large MPOs have adopted activity-based travel models for project analysis and prioritization in Regional Transportation Planning efforts. Now that regional plans analyzed with activity-based models have been adopted, local partner agencies and their consultants seek to use the same modeling platform for sub-area forecasting, project-level analysis, and traffic impact studies. This presentation describes a few ways in which RSG is making large-scale activity-based models more practical for such applications. One such effort is a new population synthesis tool, PopulationSim. This open-source tool is very easy to download, set up and use, does not require a SQL database, and is very flexible in terms of number of geographies and constraints. A key feature of the software, especially useful for traffic impact studies, is a re-populate feature which will generate a synthetic population for a small sub-area without perturbing the baseline population for other parts of the region. In another effort, RSG created an automated procedure for creating county-level models for the 9-county Bay area activity-based model, in which Monte Carlo variance and runtime is reduced by intelligently sampling households and aggregating geographic units.

By attending the Users Group meeting, participants will learn the planning applications using travel demand forecasts; innovative methodologies for regional model development; and using Big Data Applications in transportation planning



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Joel Freedman

Joel Freedman is a Director at Resource Systems Group, a consulting firm that specializes in modeling and analytics for decision-making. Joel’s model development experience includes the development of activity-based travel demand models for some of the largest and most complex metropolitan regions in the United States and large-scale integrated ... Read More

Louis Merlin Ph.D. AICP

Louis A. Merlin, Ph.D., AICP, is an Assistant Professor in the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Merlin draws upon a strong background in Mathematics and Operations Research as well as experience as a professional urban planner in his teaching and research. Dr. Merlin ... Read More

Santanu Roy

Santanu Roy is HDR’s Vice President. He leads the company wide Transportation Transformation Practice and facilitates innovative discussions across disciplines and market sectors. As an Area Business Class Manager he provides services to clients for HDR in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. Santanu is a consultant with strong technical foundation ... Read More

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