Evaluating the Effect of Complete Streets on Mode Choice, A Case Study in Baltimore-Washington Area

Supported by: Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (Reference: SPR20B4M)
From: 2019-11-01 To: 2021-03-01
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Leading Researcher

Erdogan, Sevgi  

IBC Network members

Bas, Javier


Too often the streets in American urban and sub-urban areas are designed for cars only, producing the uncomfortable “highway feel” that prevents their use to walkers, bikers, and transit riders. Recently, transportation agencies and professionals in the sector have shown interest in the Complete Streets principles and in developing better-planned infrastructure that can be safely accessed by a diversity of modes of transportation by all types of users, in a mix of land uses. Consequently, Complete Streets policies are starting to be implemented across the country and adopted by several States. However, most of the existing strategic models and planning tools are not sensitive to changes in demand for modes such as walking and cycling in response to road infrastructure improvements.
This paper proposes a specific data collection plan, multi-modal choice models, and strategies to update existing four-step transportation models to forecast rates of non-motorized trips for Complete Street projects’ implementation. In particular, we estimate elasticities to Level of Traffic Stress (LTS), which defines the comfort or discomfort experienced by walkers and bikers, based on income levels and trip purposes. The proposed modeling framework has been successfully applied to the Maryland Statewide Transportation Model (MSTM), producing reliable non-motorized trip rates.