Analysis of New Starts Project by Using Tour-Based Model of San Francisco, California

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - planning, ridership - mode choice, ridership - demand


U.S. Federal Transit Administration, Trip purpose, Travel models (Travel demand), Travel demand, Travel behavior, Transportation planning, Tour-based models, San Francisco (California), Policy analysis, New Starts Program, Mode choice, Modal choice, Microsimulation, Infrastructure, Disaggregate analysis, Choice of transportation, Choice models, Activity-based models, Activity choices


Activity-based models are increasingly attractive as alternatives to traditional trip-based travel demand forecasting models because of growing dissatisfaction with the internal consistency, aggregation bias, and lack of detail of trip-based approaches. New policy analysis requirements demand that forecasting models represent travel choices and the contexts in which these travel choices are made with ever-increasing geographic, temporal, and behavioral detail. Activity-based models can incorporate this detail and can provide decision makers with more precise insights into potential outcomes of transportation and land use investment and development strategies. The model of San Francisco, California, is a tour-based microsimulation model that forecasts daily activity patterns for individual San Francisco residents and has been used in transportation planning practice since 2000. The San Francisco model uses the daily activity pattern approach, first introduced by Bowman and Ben-Akiva, within a disaggregate microsimulation framework. This paper describes an application of the San Francisco model to the proposed new Central Subway project in downtown San Francisco. This is the first application of an activity-based travel demand model in the United States to a major infrastructure project in support of a submission to FTA for project funding through the New Starts program. To enable the submittal of a New Starts request, software was developed to collapse the microsimulation output of the tour and trip mode choice models into a format compatible with the FTA SUMMIT program. SUMMIT was then successfully used to summarize and analyze user benefits accruing to the project and to prepare an acceptable New Starts submittal.