Review of TPB Travel Modeling Procedures

It is generally considered best practice for an MPO to get an external review of its travel demand modeling process on a regular, on-going basis. In 2002, TPB staff chose to conduct a review of the modeling procedures using a panel from the Transportation Research Board (TRB). In more recent years, TPB staff has hired a consultant to provide that review. Both efforts are described below.

Transportation Research Board (TRB) Review

At its April 17, 2002 meeting, the TPB approved a process for conducting a review of the region's travel modeling procedures. The process called for the TPB to engage a respected non-partisan organization, such as the Transportation Research Board (TRB), to appoint the members of the peer review panel and oversee the review process. A request was formally made to the TRB on May 8, 2002 in a letter from then TPB Chair, Phil Mendelson. The TRB accepted this task and began its analysis of the TPB modeling procedure in January 2003. On September 8, 2003 the TRB submitted its first letter report and on May 10, 2004 the TRB concluded its analysis with the submission to TPB of its second and final letter report. TPB staff provided detailed comments on each of the TRB reports in letters of September 8, 2003 and May 13, 2004 respectively.

The following materials document the TRB review and TPB staff comments:

Scan of Best Practices in Travel Demand Forecasting

Beginning in 2005 (FY 2006), the TPB established a consultant-assisted project to provide assistance with the development and application of the COG/TPB travel demand forecasting model. Now in its 12th year, this project has been conducted using a series of one-year, task-order contracts and one-year contract extensions. Each contract has been designed so that it may be extended for up to two additional years, meaning that a consultant may hold the contract for up to three years before it needs to be re-bid. This project has frequently included focused research (or “scans”) on the modeling practices and methods used by other MPOs across the U.S. Consequently, the project is sometimes referred to as the “scan of best modeling practice” project, or simply the “model scanning” project.  The current scope of work for this project includes four components:

  • Attend all meetings of the TPB Travel Forecasting Subcommittee and other committees as appropriate;
  • Assist with the development or application of the regional travel demand forecasting model by carrying out specific tasks identified by TPB staff;
  • Provide written guidance to the TPB staff on specific models development issues raised at either the Travel Forecasting Subcommittee or other forums, drawing upon knowledge of travel demand modeling practice in other MPOs;
  • Conduct research focused on specific modeling issues raised by TPB staff.

For fiscal years 2006-2008, the contract was awarded to Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. (VHB).  For fiscal years 2009-2011, the contract was awarded to Cambridge Systematics, Inc.  For fiscal years 2012-2014, the contract was awarded to AECOM. In FY 2015, the contract was awarded to Cambridge Systematics, Inc. The following documents have been produced:

Many of the reports listed above can also be found on the "AMPO Travel Modeling Work Group" webpage, which also lists similar reports from other MPOs.