Research

Liu, Chao, Sevgi Erdogan, Ting Ma, and Frederick W. Ducca

How to Increase Rail Ridership in Maryland? Direct Ridership Models (DRM) for Policy Guidance

The state of Maryland aims to double its transit ridership by the end of 2020. The Maryland Statewide Transportation Model (MSTM) has been used to analyze different policy options at a system-wide level. Direct ridership models (DRM) estimate ridership as a function of station environment and transit service features rather than using mode‐choice results from large‐scale traditional models. They have been particularly favored for estimating the benefits of smart growth policies such as Transit Oriented Development (TOD) on transit ridership and can can be used as complementary to the traditional four-step models for analyzing smart growth scenarios at a local level and can provide valuable information that a system level analysis cannot provide. In this study, we developed DRMs of rail transit stations, namely light rail, commuter rail, Baltimore metro, and Washington D.C. metro for the state of Maryland. Data for 117 rail stations were gathered from a variety of sources and categorized by transit service characteristics, station built environment features and social-demographic variables. The results suggest that impacts of built environment show differences for light rail and commuter rail. For light rail stations, employment at half-mile buffer areas, service level, feeder bus connectivity, station location in the CBD, distance to the nearest station, and terminal stations are significant factors affecting ridership. For commuter rail stations only feeder bus connection is found to be significant. The policy implications of the results are discussed.

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Erdogan, Sevgi, Timothy F. Welch, Gerrit J. Knaap, and Frederick W. Ducca

What to Expect in 2030: Effects of Fuel Price and Fuel Economy on Land Use and Transportation

The cost of travel, which depends highly on fuel prices, can have a significant impact on the allocation of land uses, the amount of travel, the modes chosen for travel and the routes drivers select in a region. With
the volatility of energy prices over the past several decades, the growing instability of energy supply both domestic and foreign, and ever growing demand, it is difficult to predict what fuel prices will be in the
future. To begin to grapple with such uncertainty, planners must understand the potential future impacts of energy prices. With knowledge of these impacts, better planning can be achieved to accommodate the likely outcomes. This paper investigates the impacts of increased fuel prices on future transportation system performance utilizing an integrated land use and transportation model. The developed scenarios build on national macro-economic forecasts of changes in household and employment allocations with future transportation network improvements and modeled in a multi-state integrated land use and
transportation model for year 2030 in the Capital Mega-region area. The scenarios are designed such that both the impacts of fuel prices and resulting vehicle fuel economy on land use and travel behavior are captured. The model results show that increased fuel prices and fuel economy have a significant impact on land use and travel patterns. Increased fuel prices lead to a denser land use pattern and a reduction in automobile mode share and vehicle miles traveled even though fuel economy increases. The reduction is less pronounced if fuel economy increases significantly.

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

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

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.

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Sabyasachee Mishra, Xin Ye, Fred Ducca, and Gerrit Knaap (2011)

A Functional Integrated Land Use-Transportation Model for Analyzing Transportation Impacts in the Maryland-Washington D.C. Region

The Maryland-Washington, DC region has been experiencing significant land-use changes and changes in local and regional travel patterns due to increasing growth and sprawl. The region’s highway and transit networks regularly experience severe congestion levels. Before proceeding with plans to build new transportation infrastructure to address this expanding demand for travel, a critical question is how future land use will affect the regional transportation system. This article investigates how an integrated land-use and transportation model can address this question. A base year and two horizon-year land use-transport scenarios are analyzed. The horizon-year scenarios are: (1) business as usual (BAU) and (2) high gasoline prices (HGP). The scenarios developed through the land-use model are derived from a three-stage top-down approach: (a) at the state level, (b) at the county level, and (c) at the statewide modeling zone (SMZ) level that reflects economic impacts on the region. The transportation model, the Maryland Statewide Transport Model (MSTM), is an integrated land use-transportation model, capable of reflecting development and travel patterns in the region. The model includes all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Delaware, and portions of southern Pennsylvania, northern Virginia, New Jersey, and West Virginia. The neighboring states are included to reflect the entering, exiting, and through trips in the region. The MSTM is a four-step travel-demand model with input provided by the alternative land-use scenarios, designed to produce link-level assignment results for four daily time periods, nineteen trip purposes, and eleven modes of travel. This article presents preliminary results of the land use-transportation model. The long-distance passenger and commodity-travel models are at the development stage and are not included in the results. The analyses of the land use-transport scenarios reveal insights to the region’s travel patterns in terms of the congestion level and the shift of travel as per land-use changes. The model is a useful tool for analyzing future land-use and transportation impacts in the region. 

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