Chapter 2: Urban Travel Demand Forecasting


Section 1: Overview

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Forecasts Guide Planning

The federal planning regulations (accessible from a link on the TxDOT Internet at require that metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in areas over 200,000 population, in cooperation with the state, develop long-range transportation plans for all urbanized areas within the state. The development of long-range transportation plans relies on the regional computer travel demand forecasting performed in each urban area within the state.

Transportation professionals use forecasts to develop information to evaluate the effects that known and projected changes in population, employment, development patterns, and other socioeconomic conditions may have on the demand for travel on the urban area’s major roadway and transit systems. The output of the travel forecasts prepared for system planning is used by TxDOT, the MPOs, and local governments to develop and/or update the transportation plan, to program projects for additional study, and to rank transportation improvements in order of priority in the Transportation Improvement Program.

Thus, the information developed in a system forecast ultimately guides the expenditure of state, local, and federal transportation funds. Estimates of travel demand are also required for air quality conformity determination and environmental analyses.

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