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Operational Evidence of Changing Travel Patterns

Listed author(s):
  • David Levinson


    (Nexus (Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems) Research Group, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota)

  • Ajay Kumar

This paper utilizes a traffic counts database covering a ten year period (1976-1985) to identify travel trends for Montgomery County, a suburb of Washington D.C. Generally, travel behavior is analyzed using person based travel survey data. The use of traffic counts to understand travel behavior is a relatively new approach. Unlike household surveys, which are typically characterized by respondent and sample bias, and require special effort for their collection, traffic counts are routinely collected by Departments of Transportation and provide the best available measure of observed traffic volumes. The study provides fresh evidence to support some of the earlier findings: an increase in lateral commuting as a share of travel, changes in work and non-work trip proportions, and increase in peak spreading. An interesting result in this paper relates to a more pronounced directionality in radial as compared with lateral trips. The relative symmetry of traffic flows along lateral routes compared with radial routes results in better utilization of the suburban road network. Non-work trips emerge as the more elastic trips, shifting to off-peak hours with an increase in congestion.

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Paper provided by University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group in its series Working Papers with number 199403.

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Date of creation: 1994
Publication status: Published in ITE Journal, April 1994 36-44.
Handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:operationalevidence
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Dept. of Civil Engineering, 500 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

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  1. David Levinson & Ajay Kumar, 1994. "The Rational Locator: Why Travel Times Have Remained Stable," Working Papers 199402, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
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