A Mega-region Framework for Analyzing a High Energy Price Future

Fred Ducca, Rolf Moeckel, Sabyasachee Mishra, and Tara Weidner (2012)

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Mega-regions are a new geography that may well form the “nation's operative regions when competing in the future global economy. A challenge is to determine how to foster greater efficiencies in these mega-regions by creating a stronger infrastructure and technology backbone in the Nation's surface transportation system,” according to the March 2010 FHWA Strategic Plan. To meet this challenge these regions will need analysis tools to evaluate scenarios and their regional impacts, analysis tools covering areas larger than covered by the typical Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) or State Department of Transportation (DOT) models. This paper describes what makes mega-regions different and identifies analytic issues mega-regions may need to address, identifies the Chesapeake Mega-region and provides a framework for analyzing issues within the Chesapeake mega-region. Finally, the framework is tested through a proof of concept scenario which assumes a sudden price rise in gasoline prices and the likely effects on travel. A brief summary of further work and additional scenarios planned is provided.