Converting the Fairbanks Metropolitan Area Transportation System (FMATS) Travel-demand Forecasting Model from GRS II to TransCAD

Abstract and project information last updated: 1 March 2011. Project updates are dated below.

AUTC
Project
Number
MISC7
Principal
Investigator
Ming Lee (UAF)
mlee91@alaska.edu
Funding
Agency

US Department of Transportation (RITA)

Fairbanks Metropolitan Area Transportation System (FMATS)

Project
Budget
22601
Start
Date
1 April 2008
Estimated
End Date
30 September 2009

Abstract

Based on the 2000 U.S. Census, Fairbanks was designated an official urbanized area. The FHWA requires urbanized areas to form a Metropolitan Planning Organization to oversee transportation planning and federal funding. An MPO uses a travel-demand model that provides information on current and future transportation system operations. Since 2001, FMATS has used the Quick Response System II, which was intended for smaller urbanized areas, where traffic congestion and vehicle emissions are not significant concerns. However, with traffic growth and the city’s frequent inability to meet the EPA’s air quality standards, the QRS II model no longer meets Fairbanks’ needs. This project converted the old QRS II model to a more robust, state-of-the-practice TransCAD model. TransCAD (Windows-based software used by many MPOs in the U.S.) provides up-to-date modeling and forecasting methods consistent with federal requirements and with AMATS. The TransCAD conversion incorporated current population and employment data for the Fairbanks area, with calibration to the most recent traffic counts. TransCAD provides FMATS the ability to produce traffic forecasts for its long-range (up to 2030) transportation update. As part of implementation for this project, researchers provided customized training on FMATS to ADOT&PF staff, and other agencies have begun to use the model for related studies. Finally, a UAF graduate student gained hands-on experience at travel-demand modeling.