The Transit Boardings Estimation and Simulation Tool (TBEST) is a state-of-the-art comprehensive software package and ridership forecasting model whose main purpose is as a short-term (10 year horizon) transit service planning tool specifically designed for transit. This modeling capability, developed with the support of the Florida Department of Transportation over the past dozen years, has continued to evolve in response to varying needs of customers, data availability, improved computational speed, and evolving transit service concepts. Among the evolutionary features are:
• the transition from dependence on census long form to American Community Survey socio-demographic data
• the transition from manually coded to importation of Google transit specified service and networks
• evolution to enable the use of parcel level land use data to provide geographic precision in location of travel generating activities
• the development of a strategy to represent parcel activity levels based on trip generation levels which provides greater sensitivity to trip attraction of nonresidential land uses
• the integration of specific capabilities to evaluate transit equity would respect to title VI requirements
• the integration of capabilities to contrast ever more available automated passenger counting data with land use characteristics and forecast ridership
• the development of market analysis and presentation/communication materials to explore service availability and equity
• the development and presentation of transit accessibility metrics in a GIS environment
• the development of sensitivities to respond to emerging modes such as bus rapid transit
Collectively, TBEST has continued to evolve to accommodate emerging planner needs, data availability and computational capabilities. The maturation of this modeling capability has also broadened its application further enabling agencies to justify the learning time and data development investments in utilizing TBEST.
In addition to describing the evolution of TBEST modeling capabilities, the paper/presentation will share observations on strategies for how planning tools and methods can adapt to the ever-changing planning environment that exists today.