Transit Boardings Estimation and Simulation Tool (TBEST) Calibration for Guideway and BRT Modes

(Center Identification Number: 77945)

Principal Investigators:

Steve Polzin, Director, Mobility Research

Phone: 813-974-9849
E-mail: polzin@cutr.usf.edu
Fax: 813-974-5168

and

Xuehao Chu, Senior Research Associate

Phone: 813-974-9831
E-mail: xchu@cutr.usf.edu
Fax: 813-974-5168

Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida

External Project Contact:     

Diane Quigley
Transit Planning Administrator, Florida Deparment of Transportation
diane.quigley@dot.state.fl.us
Phone: 850-414-4520

I.  Project Objective/Problem Statement/Background

The Transit Boardings Estimation and Simulation Tool (TBEST) as currently designed has a set of transit demand model coefficients calibrated for bus transit travel. There is an industry interest in developing a set of calibrated coefficients for other modes of travel, specifically bus rapid transit (BRT), light rail transit (LRT) and other guideway modes. Such a capability would give greater confidence to users for application of TBEST in sketch planning or service planning for these modes. Such a planning tool would increase the capabilities of transit agencies for planning future transit services. Transit agencies across the state would be able to use such a capability. It would be most relevant to the mid-size and larger agenices who might be considering bus rapid transit or guideway investments.

II. Objectives/Tasks

The objective of this project will be to enhance TBEST to better accommodate BRT and LRT technologies so Florida transit properties will have enhanced planning capabilities for these technologies. These technologies are being considered in several Florida urban areas and improved planning and forecasting capabilities will be helpful to the various regions conducting such sketch and feasibility planning initiatives.

The following tasks are planned for accomplishing the stated project objectives:

Task 1. Project Management – this task will cover project management at the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) including producing required progress reports and carrying out deliverable reviews before submittal to Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT).

Task 2. Literature Review – this task will review the literature in terms of methods, principals, and tools for estimating ridership for BRT and guideway modes. Specifically, it will focus on determining what metrics of guideway or BRT service can be quantified or otherwise integrated into forecasting model equations for these modes that go beyond the service characteristics already captured in model equations. There is an acknowledged preference of travelers for guideway and BRT modes that is not fully captured by reflecting the cost, speed and geographic coverage differences in technologies. This appears to be related to a combination of factors including the image of the technology, its physical presence, and perhaps its reliability or comfort levels. As these factors are not fully reflected in modal characteristics used in the models, there are typically technology-specific model equations or adjustments to standard equations to account for these empirically verified differences in attractiveness across modes. The literature review will seek out the current best understanding of the nature and magnitude of these modal preferences and how they are quantified and related to mode technology characteristics.

Task 3. Calibration Strategy – this task will develop the recommended strategy for implementation of BRT and Guideway models. Attention will focus on BRT and LRT models. Heavy rail currently exists in Florida and forecasts with TBEST can use the existing treatment of this as a transit technology type to have the TBEST validation adjustment provide for a technology adjustment factor for use in future rail expansion scenarios within the Miami area. We do not anticipate any new heavy rail implementation in other Florida cities so would not need new equations for other locations. BRT and LRT are different in that there is no existing implemented projects in the state of significance that provide a basis for a Florida technology validation in the respective cities that are considering LRT and BRT services. Thus, we will be exploring alternative strategies for developing a methodology of validating TBEST equations for BRT and LRT modes. Possible strategies include using an existing four step or sketch planning tool to forecast ridership for a LRT or BRT scenario and then using that as the “actual” ridership for purposes of calibrating TBEST. Alternatively, we may survey the national experience regarding the adjustment factors to differentiate between bus and LRT or various types of BRT and then use that as a basis for determining modal technology adjustment factors. We will look specifically at the Lymo service and Miami Dade County busway services as BRT type applications that might be used for calibration or validation. As we complete the literature review and brainstorm more regarding how best to build a model for a mode for which limited calibration data exists, we will develop recommendations to share with FDOT before implementation.

Task 4. Model Development – based on task three above the project team will execute the recommended and approved methodology to accommodate LRT and BRT technologies. This will involve modifying or developing new technology equations and also modifying the TBEST Model report formatting and other characteristics to accommodate new modes. To the extent that LRT and BRT are more reliant on park-and-ride ridership, we will provide recommendations on how best to address this issue in the absence of a robust method for estimating drive access to transit stops. We will implement the model software and data input structure changes as well as developing and integrating within the model equations for the new modes. The project will result in a functional, deployed, TBEST model for future Florida application. It is envisioned that this model will be based on the TBEST parcel model structure.

Task 5. A deliverable of Task 4 will be the modified TBEST model that integrates equations for BRT and LRT modes. This will include changes to the data structure to accommodate BRT and LRT data, integration of the new mode equations into the model equation set, and modifications of the output format to include the new modes. This will be a deployed model able to be used by Florida properties.

Task 5. Model Documentation and Final Report – this task will document the efforts carried out in the prior tasks both for inclusion in the final technical report regarding this project as well as for providing TBEST model documentation updates.

Work not included in this scope of service is not to be performed and will not be subject to compensation by the Department. Dr. Polzin will direct and participate in all tasks of the research effort and take responsibility for the deliverables. Dr. Chu and Rodney Bunner will also participate in all tasks. Joel Volinski and additional faculty members of CUTR will review the final deliverables as part of CUTR’ internal review process.

III. Deliverables

 Deliverables for Task 1:

• quarterly progress reports prepared after each quarter and submitted within 30 days of the end of the quarter.

Deliverables for Task 2:

• Task 2 efforts and findings will be documented in a technical memorandum produced as part of Task 3.

Deliverables for Task 3:

• A technical memorandum will be produced covering the findings in Task 2 and the candidates strategies and recommendations developed in Task 3.

Deliverables for Task 4:

• Task 4 efforts and findings will be documented in a the final report and model documentation produced as part of Task 5. A deliverable of Task 4 will be the modified TBEST model that integrates equations for BRT and LRT modes. This will include changes to the data structure to accommodate BRT and LRT data, integration of the new mode equations into the model equation set, and modifications of the output format to include the new modes. This will be a deployed model able to be used by Florida properties.

Deliverables for Task 5:

• Model documentation will be updated and available through the TBEST web site.

• A project final report will be produced documenting the research carried out and the conclusions and model changes that result.

• A revised TBEST model with treatments for BRT and LRT will be released and available as part of this project. User training will be handled through technical support efforts.

This section addresses all deliverables to be produced under this project: 

Project Kickoff Meeting – A kick-off meeting shall be scheduled to occur within the first 30 days of execution by the university. The preferred method for the kick-off meeting is via teleconference or video conference. As a minimum, the project manager and the principal investigator will attend.  The Research Center staff must be advised of the meeting and given the option to attend. Other parties may be invited, as appropriate. The subject of the meeting will be to review and discuss the project’s tasks, schedule, milestones, deliverables, reporting requirements, and deployment plan. A summary of the kick-off meeting shall be included in the first progress report.

Progress Reports – The Principal Investigator will submit quarterly progress reports to the Research Center.  The first report will cover the activity that occurred in the quarter following execution of the contract.  Reports should be submitted within 30 days of the end of the reporting period.  Quarterly report due dates will follow the annual calendar:  April 30, July 31, October 31 and January 31

 Reports should be submitted within 30 days of the end of the reporting period. Reports are due even if little or no progress has occurred (in which case, the report should explain delays and/or lack of progress). Progress reports should be sent in MS Word to Sandra Bell, sandra.bell@dot.state.fl.us .

Progress reports must include the following information:

  1. Contract number, task work order number, and title
  2. Work performed during the period being reported
  3. Work to be performed in the following period
  4. Anticipated modifications (i.e., to funding, schedule, or scope). This section is for reporting/informational purposes, not for officially requesting an amendment.

 Note:  To request an amendment to a contract, the contractor must provide the project manager with the appropriate information (i.e., what is being requested with justification) in the required format. If the project manager concurs with the request, he/she shall forward it with his/her approval and commentary, as appropriate, to the Research Center for administrative review and processing (pending available funds, etc.)

A progress schedule updated to reflect activities for the period being reported.

Failure to submit progress reports in a timely manner may result in termination of the work order.

Draft Final Reports – The Draft Final Report is due 90 days prior to the end date of the task work order. The draft final report will be submitted to Sandra Bell, sandra.bell@dot.state.fl.us. It should be edited for technical accuracy, grammar, clarity, organization, and format prior to submission to the Department for technical approval. The Research Center expects contractors to be able to provide well-written, high-quality reports that address the objectives defined by the scope of service. Draft final reports must be prepared in accordance with the “Guidelines for Preparing Draft Final and Final Reports” posted at http://www.dot.state.fl.us/research%2Dcenter/Program_Information/Guidelines%20for%20Preparing%20a%20Final%20Report%2012-07.pdf. This document provides information on all report requirements, including format, the technical report documentation form, disclaimer language, and so forth.

Final Reports – Once the draft final report has been approved, the university shall prepare the final report. The university will deliver a minimum eight (8) copies on CD or DVD – seven (7) CDs should contain the final report in PDF format, one (1) CD should contain the final report in PDF format, MS Word format and a Summary of the Final Report.

The CD/DVDs should be labeled in a professional manner and include at a minimum the contract number, task work order number, project title and date.  

The final report is due no later than 2 week prior to the end date of the task work order and should be delivered to the following address:

The Florida Department of Transportation

Research Center,MS30

605 Suwannee Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450

Project Closeout Meeting  The closeout meeting shall be scheduled during the final 30 days of the project  to review project performance, the deployment plan, and next steps. Attendees shall include, as a minimum, the project manager, the principal investigator, and the Research Center performance coordinator. This meeting is to occur prior to the expiration of the contract and subsequent to the approval of the draft final report (i.e., it should be scheduled for sometime during the final 30 days of the project).

IV. Project Schedule

Start Date:  January 2012               Expected End Date: April 2013

V. Project Budget

Total Lump Sum Amount (Salaries and Benefits)            $109,904.89

Cost Reimbursable Subtotal                                                          $86.46

Indirect Cost (subtotal x 10%)                                                          $8.65

Total Project Cost                                                                  $110,000.00

VI. Equipment

No equipment is anticipated nor requested for the completion of this study.

VII. Travel

No travel is expected for this project.

VIII. Personnel

 

Dr. Polzin will direct and participate in all tasks of the research effort and take responsibility for the deliverables. Dr. Chu and Rodney Bunner will also participate in all tasks. Joel Volinski and additional faculty members of CUTR will review the final deliverables as part of CUTR’ internal review process.

Use of Graduate Student(s) and other Research Assistants

It is anticipated that at least one graduate research assistant will be supporting this project.

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