Near-Term Action - Transportation model enhancements

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 Activity-Based Model (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.

SANDAG conducts the San Diego Regional Transportation Study every ten years to update assumptions in SANDAG regional transportation models. The 2016-2017 study invited approximately one in four households to participate via a new smartphone application. The final report summarizes results and details the innovative methodology used. The SANDAG ABM suite, ABM2, was operational for use in the RTP in July 2018. A draft version of ABM2+ that includes new mobility options like micromobility, transit, and transportation network company mode options (e.g., Uber and Lyft), is being tested. A technical advisory committee will be evaluating the new model system in February 2020.

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san diego bay