Forecasting Urban Travel

Forecasting Urban Travel

Past, Present and Future

David E. Boyce and Huw C.W.L. Williams

Forecasting Urban Travel presents in a non-mathematical way the evolution of methods, models and theories underpinning travel forecasts and policy analysis, from the early urban transportation studies of the 1950s to current applications throughout the urbanized world. From original documents, correspondence and interviews, especially from the United States and the United Kingdom, the authors seek to capture the spirit and problems faced in different eras, as changing information requirements, computing technology and planning objectives conditioned the nature of forecasts.

Chapter 8: Tradition and innovation in US practice

David E. Boyce and Huw C.W.L. Williams

Subjects: economics and finance, transport, environment, environmental sociology, urban and regional studies, transport, urban studies


Following initiation of ‘urban transportation studies’ in the US in the 1950s, the 1962 Federal-Aid Highway Act mandated the preparation of urban transportation plans as a condition for urbanized areas to receive construction funds (Weiner, 1997, 23). The focus of this requirement was the preparation of long-range plans for roads and public transport. Shortly afterwards, the Bureau of Public Roads issued memoranda requiring metropolitan areas to undertake ‘a continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative (3C) planning process’ consisting of: establishing an organization to carry out the planning process; development of local goals and objectives; surveys and inventories of existing conditions and facilities; analyses of current conditions and calibration of forecasting techniques; forecasting of future activity and travel; evaluation of alternative transportation networks resulting in a recommended transportation plan; staging of the transportation plan; and identification of resources to implement it (Weiner, 1997, 25).

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