Modeling Long Distance Highway Passenger Travel: A National Data Framework Approach
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Long distance travel is a critical component of American life, generating immense impacts on a variety of aspects of the society. In 1995, American households took about 656 million long distance domestic trips (100+ miles, one way), which totaled 1 billion person trips. Compared to the well-studied intra-urban travel, long distance travel needs further in-depth analysis and modeling efforts, for which the long distance travel data serve as a substantial basis. While MPOs periodically collect both supply and demand data to support the development of regional models, supply-side data reflecting transportation service and costs at corridor, interregional, and national level are scarce. To merge the gap, there is a need to establish a national data framework, with available datasets integrated to support implementing quantitative methods on a national highway network to resolve network loading issues for long distance travel. This research intends to address this imperative. The research scope embraces the long distance passenger travel on national highways within the contiguous United States. The framework developed comprises not only a data warehouse where a plethora of datasets reside and interact, but also a complete modeling methodology to infer network loading conditions of long distance travel. Applying the national data framework approach, this research answers a pivotal question: how can we gain knowledge and insights of distributive patterns of long distance passenger travel at interregional level given existing data resources? This research elaborates the methodologies for the framework design and addresses the technical and theoretical challenges particularly in issues of travel impedance estimation and long distance travel network loading. Findings from this research lay a solid foundation for building the fundamental theoretical framework urgently needed for long distance travel studies and contribute significantly to the understanding of the supply side of long distance travel, from available infrastructure capacity and networks loading conditions to the induced environment challenges, infrastructure congestion, and investment costs, as well as facilitating policy making and evaluation pertain to long distance travel at national level.
- Civil engineering