The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), in cooperation with the Bryan-College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization (B-CS MPO), completed a 2006 base year travel model update with a 2035 forecast application to support the development of the updated metropolitan transportation plan (MTP). The 2006 Bryan-College Station travel model update utilized updated external station travel survey data to address external and non-resident travel in the county. Unfortunately, recent internal household and workplace surveys were not available for the 2006 model update. For such cases, the practice within Texas is to utilize a standard set of production and attraction rates for small-to-medium sized urban areas prepared using a compilation of previously collected household and workplace surveys throughout the state.
The typical small-to-medium sized study area production rates initially used during the calibration of the 2006 travel models significantly underestimated trips for portions of the Bryan-College Station study area that had a disproportionate number of student households, which were recorded as low-income households in the U.S. Census data. Where there is a preponderance of student households, the trip making characteristics for this segment are not consistent with the travel behavior of other low-income, non-student households. Relative to the total population of the region, there is no other greater example in the state of Texas that is so uniquely tied to a region’s travel demand and mobility.
The purpose of this presentation is to convey the unique challenges associated with accounting for university trips in the absence of household travel survey data as well as review the approach applied to this unique setting in Texas. These challenges are especially acute because of the tremendous influence the university has relative to the size of the study area. The experiences and challenges encountered with the 2006 models have led to a student targeted travel survey for the region. The student targeted survey is in addition to the planned household travel survey. The student targeted survey will also be briefly discussed as a part of the presentation and what this data may contribute to the future of travel models in the region.