SANDAG deals with many complex mobility issues facing the San Diego region, including the development of a long-range Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) as part of San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan. Transportation and land use models perform a very basic yet vital set of functions in helping to build the RTP. Models are the principal tools used for alternatives analysis, and they provide planners and decision makers with information to help them equitably allocate scarce resources.
Before deciding whether to implement a project, policy, or plan, SANDAG first analyzes how the transportation system will respond to the change and what other potential impacts may occur. Transportation models are a central part of the toolset used to undertake such analysis. Currently, SANDAG uses an activity-based model to simulate individual and household transportation decisions. People travel for activities such as work, school, shopping, healthcare, and recreation, and the ABM attempts to predict whether, where, when, and how this travel occurs.
As a model and its practitioners become increasingly sophisticated, modeling tools can be expanded to measure and analyze new components that in times past have been examined only in an external, off-model capacity, or not at all. SANDAG has begun to explore the possibility of incorporating regional transportation model enhancements to provide more robust data regarding bike and pedestrian travel, carpools, vanpools, carshare, and public health.
Every decade SANDAG conducts a Household Travel Behavior Survey (Survey). The data collected is used to update assumptions in SANDAG regional transportation models. In May 2016, a pilot Survey was conducted using a new smart phone application. The full Survey will begin this fall and for the first time, it will include specific questions about health.
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