Travel Demand Forecasting - Warner Transportation Consulting

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Travel Demand Forecasting

Warner Transportation Consulting, Inc. provides the full range of services needed for the development and application of regional transportation models. Marc Warner leads the practice. He is among the country's leading consultants in the estimation and calibration of mode choice routines. He has directed travel demand forecasting tasks for major transit and highway projects using TransCAD, Cube/TRIPS, emme/2, emme/3, Tranplan, and MINUTP software packages, and he "sweats the details" in all aspects of transportation model development and use.

Marc Warner has taught travel demand forecasting techniques as a professor in the graduate schools at the University of Massachusetts and at Northeastern University. At MIT, where he received his Ph.D. in transportation systems, he also conducted a weekly recitation for transportation demand modeling students, and he prepared all tests, exercises, and grades for students in the class.

Warner Transportation Consulting's related consulting experiences include the following:

Passenger rail ridership forecasting in Manila
As an expert witness in arbitration proceedings between the govenment of the Philippines and the private partner in the development of the main Manila passenger rail line, Marc Warner estimated ridership and revenue under alternative fare and capacity scenarios.  His 2019 report and testimony examined how ridership on the MRT-3 would have changed had the system operated with enough capacity to meet latent demand, connected with the LRT-1 at North Avenue, and implemented higher fares beginning in 2003. Tables presented the ridership and revenue impacts of these changes individually and in combination with the other proposed system changes.

Flint Hills metropolitan planning study
Warner Transportation Consulting contracted in 2018 with the Flint Hills Metropolitan Planning Organization to develop a new regional transportation and land use model.  The effort included the compilation of socio-economic, land use, and transportation system to represent 2017 conditions, calibration of the model to match observed traffic flows, and the development and evaluation of future year scenarios.  Marc Warner led the consulting team.  The Flint Hills region is in northeastern Kansas, and includes the cities of Manhattan and Juction City, the Fort Riley military base, and Kansas State University.  

Iceland's "Lava Express" ridership forecast

Warner Transportation Consulting forecasted ridership for Iceland's proposed "Lava Express" passenger rail service between Keflavik Airport and central Reykjavik.  In the 2016 study, Marc Warner designed and analyzed stated preference surveys to test the effects of different pricing, train frequency, station location, and parking scenarios.  The surveys elicited responses from 2542 foreign travelers who had recently flown out of Keflavik Airport, and from 1062 residents of the Icelandic Capital Region.  

Analysis of parking demand at Washington, DC's planned Silver Line Metro stations
In a 2015 study, Warner Transportation Consulting examined the parking demand projected for two planned passenger rail stations in Loudon County, Virginia.  The study identified various errors in the data analysis and in the interpretation of the statistical results, and presented a more behaviorally-sound assessment of park-and-ride demand.

Demand analysis for proposed Metro-North rail station
For a private developer and the Connecticut Department of Transportation, Warner Transportation Consulting estimated ridership and parking demand at a proposed new rail station on Metro-North's New Haven branch. The firm conducted passenger surveys at the neighboring stations, and used a conjoint analysis design to test how passengers would shift to the new station under a range of parking pricing and availability scenarios. The 2014 analysis also included an assessment of new rail travelers under current and future land use conditions.

Lawton Oklahoma model development and land use forecasts
Warner Transportation Consulting contracted with the Lawton, Oklahoma Metropolitan Planning Organization in February 2014 to develop a new transportation and land use planning model. The TransCAD-based model covers an expanded urbanized region (including Fort Sill Military Reservation) and accounts explicitly for travel by transit and trucks.

Assessment of Almaty, Kazakhstan highway privatization effort
In an audit of the Europe and Central Asia Infrastructure Advisory Program of the International Finance Corporation, Warner Transportation Consulting conducted a case study of the agency's efforts to develop a successful privatization tender to construct an $800 million circumferential highway around Almaty, Kazakhstan. Mr. Warner's analysis included a review of the traffic forecast and the traveler response to different tolls and travel time savings. His meetings with project staff took place at the IFC office in Belgrade, Serbia and by video conference with staff in Almaty.

Support of Transportation Capacity Building in Azerbaijan
Warner Transportation Consulting contracted with the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan to provide training in the use of TransCAD for transportation planning. Marc Warner was in Baku, Azerbaijan in April 2012 to teach the five-day course to staff from the Ministry of Transportation. He also provided the agency with a TransCAD-based transportation forecasting model that they could use with their own refined data about the transportation and land use systems.

Orange County transportation modeling
Warner Transportation Consulting, Inc. contracted with the Orange County Transportation Authority in April 2012 to help the agency calibrate the transit ridership components of its regional transportation model. The project, completed in October 2012, allows the model to account for survey data and transit fare and boarding data collected automatically on OCTA buses.  It also provides information for the agency's Title VI (environmental justice) reports, and highlights corridors where the transit service provided is disproportionate to the existing and potential transit demand. This can help to guide OCTA planners in the geographic allocation of transit service.

In an earlier contract with OCTA, Warner Transportation Consulting conducted transportation modeling studies on a three year on-call basis. In one study under this contract, Marc Warner developed a technique to forecast intersection level turning volumes as a function of the regional transportation model output, bi-proportionally fitted to observed current intersection counts.  In a second study, Marc Warner worked intensively with the model to improve the representation of traffic flows on toll facilities.  Warner Transportation Consulting was also the prime contractor on the OCTA's 2017 project to develop guidelines for the agency's 2018 bus passenger survey.

Ridership Analysis of the Monterey Light Rail Plan
The Transportation Agency for Monterey County (CA) contracted in early 2011 with Warner Transportation Consulting, Inc. to conduct an independent review of ridership on the Monterey Branch Line Rail Project. The effort entailed the application of various strategic level ridership techniques, evaluation of the current regional land use and transportation model, modifications to that model, and new forecasts of demand under alternative station attributes and operating plans.

Portland commuter rail modeling
Warner Transportation Consulting, Inc. directed all travel demand forecasting tasks for the Portland North Transportation Alternatives Study. The effort included the application of the Aggregate Rail Ridership Forecasting (ARRF) tool, and two new traveler surveys to calibrate mode choice and other components of a revised regional transportation and land use model.

Adirondack/Glens Falls transportation model development
Warner Transportation Consulting contracted in 2010 with the Adirondack/Glens Falls Transportation Commission to update and enhance thier regional land use and transportation model. The update included the development of winter and summer seasonal models, the geographic expansion of the modeled region, the recalibration of all model phases, and the conversion of the model from VISUM to TransCAD. The agency contracted again with Warner Transportation Consulting in 2018 to provide a second update and recalibration of the regional model.

Nashville transit service model
Warner Transportation Consulting developed an innovative program based on available geographic data to highlight promising corridors for new transit service, and to produce a quick and easy comparison of proposed transit alternatives. The program is a sophisticated GISDK add-in to the TransCAD geographic information system.

Pennsylvania Toll Road Forecasting
Warner Transportation Consulting, Inc. was a sub-consultant providing travel and toll revenue forecasting on the Pennsylvania Turnpike out to 2057 with and without tolls imposed on the parallel highway, Interstate 80. The client was an international consortium planning to lease the Turnpike and the prime consultant was the economic consulting firm, Global Insight.

Regional Model Development for Maine DOT
Warner Transportation Consulting, Inc. was responsible for the estimation of passenger ridership for several options of proposed passenger rail, ferry and bus service in the travel corridor between Bangor International Airport and Bar Harbor, Maine. Marc Warner directed the modeling effort, and introduced a variety of modeling innovations, including "tour-based" techniques to account for the large volume of recreational travelers in the corridor. Mr. Warner developed and administered surveys of potential travelers to the area (to examine induced demand), and of existing visitors and area residents (to estimate the new mode split). Both surveys, and a third, more recent survey he conducted to test alternative transportation policies in Acadia National Park, involved fractional factorial design, and a blocking method to ensure tractability for survey respondents. Mr. Warner conducted all survey analysis (using conjoint analysis, regression and multinomial logit and ordered probit techniques).

Also as part of this project, Warner Transportation Consulting developed the regional model using Cube/TRIPS to test alternative transportation options in a 50-mile corridor between Bangor and Bar Harbor, Maine. The modeled region extended beyond any single metropolitan area, and the effort involved extensive highway coding, introduction and calibration of a mode split routine, and designation of new trip purposes and factors to account for recreational travel. BACTS, the Bangor area metropolitan planning organization has adopted the Warner Transportation Consulting model as its official transportation and land use planning tool.

St. Louis MetroLink Extension
Warner Transportation Consulting directed the technical modeling of ridership and revenue for all route alignment and service scenarios (including no-build and transportation system management options) considered in the Final Environmental Impact Statement of a proposed 20-mile light-rail line extension in the St. Louis area. This involved extensive changes to the existing regional transportation model to include a new mode split formula, and to account for more detailed local zones, special generators, special events, and parking access and feeder bus associated with the proposed rail service. The Federal Transit Administration approved the forecasting methods and results, and the line opened in 2003. In a second study in the region, Warner Transportation Consulting modeled a further 3-mile MetroLink rail extension. This involved a further update of the St. Louis regional transportation model.

Kansas City Transportation Alternatives Studies
Warner Transportation Consulting upgraded the regional transportation model maintained by the Mid America Regional Council to test various rail and bus rapid transit proposals for the I-35 corridor between downtown Kansas City and Johnson County, Kansas. The upgrades included conversion of the trip generation routine from Fortran to Visual Basic, new K-factors and the introduction of feedback loops in the trip distribution stage, new procedures for handling park-and-ride facilities, intrazonal trips, revised time-of-day factors to develop peak period models, and the development of an accurate and behaviorally-sound mode choice routine that can meet FTA guidelines.

On follow-up projects, Warner Transportation Consulting applied the Aggregate Rail Ridership Forecasting tool and the updated regional model to multiple rail options serving downtown and the Crown Center along corridors to the east and south of the city. The firm also helped the Kansas City MPO in reviewing methods to include more transit travelers in the regional home interview survey .

Cleveland Transit and Highway Modeling
In an upgrade to the Cleveland regional transportation and land use model, Warner Transportation Consulting developed an innovative approach to account for complex trips (trips that involve intermediate stops between the origin and destination). Marc Warner applied this method along with changes to special trip generators and special events in the modeling of proposed downtown Cleveland highway and transit options.

New Jersey Light Rail Planning Study
Warner Transportation Consulting reviewed the regional travel demand models used by New Jersey planning agencies to identify sources and magnitudes of possible uncertainties that could affect future travel demand. This review became part of a solicitation package for firms and individuals interested in building and operating the agency's proposed Hudson-Bergen light-rail project.

Denver Toll Road Forecasting
For a bond prospectus for the proposed E-470 toll road in the Denver area, Mr. Warner evaluated the road's potential to divert traffic from existing non-tolled facilities. His review included a discussion of the appropriateness of a "reliability" variable on the toll road diversion models, and he highlighted areas of ambiguity in the specification of travel demand models and in the prior interpretation of model results.

Dallas Bus Ridership and Revenue Forecasting
Warner Transportation Consulting developed a set of models for transit planners to forecast ridership for new or revised bus services. The models rely on formulas estimated through regression analyses of existing route-level and segment-level ridership and demographic data. The equations feed directly into the agency's ArcView geographic information system. Note that DART called on Warner Transportation Consulting to analyze and ultimately redo the previous regression analysis done by a firm that lacked real statistical expertise. The revised models corrected errors that undermined the accuracy of the prior forecasts, introduced dummy variables to avoid bias created by their omission, and used a two-stage generalized least squares method to account for service variables included with the independent variables.

Intercity Passenger Rail Study
In a study for Amtrak, Warner Transportation Consulting estimated the impacts on ridership and revenue of proposed cuts in passenger rail service. Marc Warner's analysis involved working closely with Amtrak marketing managers and intensively with data from Amtrak's Arrow Reservation System, Marketing Origin-Destination System, and Daily Segment Ridership databases. Mr. Warner also prepared an equipment retirement plan that accounted for equipment maintenance costs, the needs of continuing Amtrak services, and the constraints of the right-of-way and other railroad facilities.

Boston Central Artery Ramp Meter Study
Warner Transportation Consulting combined queuing theory and a regional traffic assignment model (TranPlan) to analyze the effects of possible ramp metering on area traffic flows as part of the Boston Central Artery/Tunnel Project. On other modeling tasks for the Central Artery project, Marc Warner developed techniques for monitoring truck and bus movements as distinct travel flows.

Traveler Response to Changes in Transit Fares--various clients
For a variety of clients, Warner Transportation Consulting has estimated the effects of proposed new fare levels or new fare types (e.g., stored value fare cards, fare cutter passes, 3-in-5 day passes). Project responsibilities have typically involved the design and analysis of a stated-preference survey, a review of past ridership trends, developing a model for agency staff to conduct their own tests, and presenting the results of the study to agency managers. Warner Transportation Consulting has conducted these studies for transit agencies in Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, St. Louis, Portland (OR), Fort Worth, Bangor, and the firm recently completed its sixth fare-evaluation project for the main Brussels transit provider.

Ridership Impacts of Transit Amenities
For a Federal research project (TCRP B-10), Warner Transportation Consulting developed an innovative, graphically-oriented survey technique to assess the degree to which various transit stop and on-board "amenities" could induce added transit travel. Transit agencies in five cities conducted the survey during the course of the study, and Marc Warner analyzed and reported on all results. Since the study's publication, many other cities have used the survey.

Airport ground access surveys and models
In one of several projects it has done for Massport, Warner Transportation Consulting analyzed factors affecting the use of express buses to Boston's Logan International Airport. The project involved survey design, data collection, and analysis for a survey of passengers on buses serving four park-and-ride locations each from 10 to 20 miles from the airport. The service carries 1.2 million riders per year, and three of the four routes make a profit. Marc Warner's survey design used a fractional factorial design and he used multinomial logit analysis to understand traveler preferences for taking the bus instead of driving to the airport or using other modes.

Transportation Demand Management Studies--various clients
Warner Transportation Consulting has reviewed and analyzed pricing and regulatory measures to reduce travel demand and traffic congestion for projects in Massachusetts, Los Angeles, and Washington State. Marc Warner's analyses focused on aspects of trip generation, mode choice, and travel time choice. They also included assessments of each measure's equity, political acceptability, legal impediments, costs, supporting programs, and overall potential for implementation.

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