The intensity of socio-economic development in a region is often used to determine the capacity and free flow travel speed for individual network links in a travel demand model. Accomplishing this requires that each link be associated with the intensity of development in the surrounding area and facility type.

The paper describes creating and implementing an automatic procedure for delineating area type polygons and the subsequent incorporation of the area type at the link level for the modeled transportation network. A seamless integration of three software environments such as Caliper’s GISDK, Python and ESRI Arcobjects allows the user to automatically assign area type to links based on the land use and socio-economic characteristics of the surrounding area.

The minimum required data inputs are: land use, employment data, population data and natural barriers (areas where real estate development is not possible). The procedure determines the demographic and economic intensity of each TAZ (transportation analysis zone) and creates a centroid for the developed part of each zone. A raster type intensity surface is generated using interpolation technique. Furthermore the raster surface gets reclassified and converted into area type polygons. Network links are then automatically assigned area type based on their position relative to the area type polygons. As a last step the area type attribute for link level segments gets updated taking into account the new area type. The procedure is easy to modify and can leverage additional GIS data when such data becomes available.