Innovations in Estimating Trip Generation Rates

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December 2020

This report summarizes research conducted by the Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS), the staff to the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), into innovative practices in the analysis of trip generation (the study of predicting to what extent and how people travel to and from developments and other locations) and seeks to create a framework for ongoing research and efforts into developing improved methods. This research proceeds from the widely shared understanding that the standard trip generation rates provided by the Institute of Transportation Engineers often perform poorly in dense urban areas and inadequately capture travel by modes other than single-occupancy vehicles. Trip generation rates are commonly used in the development and infrastructure review processes, as well as travel demand modeling. This research focused on the use of these data in the development review process. The report includes a literature review covering the need for improving trip generation analysis and methods of doing so. We present case studies of municipalities using alternative methods of trip generation analysis that encompass all modes of transportation, as well as research on policy frameworks that use or proceed from these methods. We document current and potential applications of trip generation rates by CTPS, including its ongoing work with partner agencies. The report concludes by documenting next steps to be taken in the field generally and in the Boston Region MPO’s planning area in particular.

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