Past Presidents' Award for Merit in Transportation Engineering: Assessing Transportation Policy Using an Activity-Based Microsimulation Model of Travel Demand

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, operations - service span, infrastructure - vehicle, infrastructure - bus/tram lane, planning - travel demand management, planning - travel demand management, land use - planning, ridership - commuting, ridership - commuting, ridership - demand, organisation - management, technology - intelligent transport systems, mode - carpool


Working hours, Work days, Trip reduction, Travel models (Travel demand), Travel demand management, Travel demand, Transportation policy, Transportation planning, Transportation demand management, Traffic models, Toronto (Canada), Telecommuting, TDM measures, RTI, Road transport informatics, Prototypes, Microsimulation, IVHS, ITS (Intelligent transportation systems), Intelligent vehicle highway systems, Intelligent transportation systems, Infrastructure, HOV lanes, Hours of service (Work hours), Hours of labor, High occupancy vehicle lanes, Decision making, Carpool lanes, ATT, Advanced transport telematics, Activity-based models


For over 50 years, travel demand models have provided decision support for transportation infrastructure planning. However, the current emphasis on travel demand management policies, which allows for more efficient use of existing road and transit capacity, requires improved methods of analysis. This paper presents a new operational prototype microsimulation model of travel and activity scheduling for household agents (TASHA). This model provides more precise outputs than current state-of-practice models with little increase in supporting data requirements. The functionality of the model is summarized. The model is well-suited to assess alternative hours (e.g., flexible working hours and telecommuting), high-occupancy vehicle lanes and intelligent transportation system initiatives. The model is applied to several transportation policy problems in Toronto to demonstrate the potential benefits of the TASHA modeling approach. The model shows significant promise, although more research is needed before the TASHA system is ready for large-scale implementation.