Transportation researchers and practitioners have long sought other tools to complement or perhaps replace conventional methods—tools that would better analyze trips rather than speed at points in the system, speak to non-auto modes of travel, address land use solutions as well as highway infrastructure, and so on. Barriers to such tools have included lack of data and analytic methods, as well as considerable inertia in practice.
Fortunately, new sources of data and emerging methods, as well as new-found interest in performance and scenario planning, are yielding the types of tools that the field needs. These fall into two related but distinct categories: 1) trip-making, which looks at complete trips rather than vehicle speeds on system segments, as observed empirically rather than through models, and 2) accessibility, which describes the ease or difficulty involved in reaching destinations on the existing or planned network. The tools share the ability to inform decisions in these ways:
- By providing area scans to assess behavior and performance,
- By tracking behavior and performance over time,
- By diagnosing problems,
- By assessing solutions,
- By engaging stakeholders with meaningful, intuitive information.
This white paper describes SSTI’s work and experience with these tools and practices.