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39 CHAPTER 5. FORECASTS OF THE FUTURE Chapter 5 of the Technical Appendix reviews examples available in the present literature of actual forecasts of long-distance travel, and examinations of potential changes in transportation behavior. 5(A) EARLY EXAMPLES OF THE USE OF SCENARIO ANALYSIS AND OTHER FORECASTING Model-based scenario analysis helps interpret future travel behavior. This section makes references to an early application of the rJourney modeling process, and to the early results of modeling undertaken in the Northeast Corridor, which references possible implications for air and automobile volumes in that region. SCENARIO ANALYSIS PUBLISHED IN FHWAâS FOUNDATIONAL KNOWLEDGE IMPLEMENTATION REPORT FIGURE 5-1: EARLY SCENARIO EXPLORATION IN THE FOUNDATIONAL KNOWLEDGE PROJECT Source: Reproduced from Federal Highway Administration Foundational Knowledge Implementation Report. In an early exploration of the capabilities of the simulation-based modeling process developed for FHWA, scenarios were developed concerning possible futures for air and automobile
40 volumes in the future, in this case for all trips over 100 miles in distance. The analysis suggests that variation in air fares could have a significant effect on the volume of air travel and the total volume of long-distance trip-making. The second line in Figure 5-1 shows that a 50% increase in airplane fares lowers air volumes by approximately 22% and lowers long-distance trip-making by approximately 4%. These results would favor increased rail share if high-speed rail programs could improve travel times considerably; however, this would not have a significant effect on total long-distance trip- making. Nationwide, a decrease in rail travel times by 50% (somewhat optimistic) would increase rail trip-making by approximately 8%, with a 0.20% increase in total long-distance travel. 5(B) THE FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATIONâS NORTHEAST CORRIDOR FUTURE PROJECT According to the modeling undertaken by Northeast Corridor (NEC) Future project, an aggressive program of investment in the Northeast Corridor could more than double the number of intercity rail riders, with a parallel 20% increase in rail within regions (a vastly larger market). The Preferred Alternative could lower air use in the corridor by over 10%, with an estimated approximate 4% decrease in highway volume. TABLE 5-1: ANNUAL TRIPS (1,000S) BY MODE, NO ACTION AND PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE (2040) MODE NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE PREFERRED ALTERNATIVE CHANGE VS. NO ACTION (%) Intercity rail 19,400 40,200 107% Regional rail 416,400 499,000 20% Highway 377,800 362,600 -4% Air 10,200 9,100 -11% Bus 12,100 10,700 -12% Source: Reproduced from Federal Railroad Administrationâs Northeast Corridor Future Environmental Impact Statement. The NEC Corridor Future project, sponsored by the Federal Railroad Administration, stimulated the undertaking of the Northeast Corridor Intercity Travel Study by the Northeast Corridor Commission, which created the most current description of all travel flows in the Northeast. As the Commission report noted, the project âemployed novel analysis of observed travel behavior through the collection of anonymous toll transaction data, photographic license plate capture, and a large-scale driver survey.â Travel descriptions from this Commission study incorporated the results of the Northeast Corridor Intercity Bus Study, which combined bus passenger surveys and detailed descriptions of bus schedules in the study area.