Operational Evidence of Changing Travel Patterns

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Operational Evidence of Changing Travel Patterns

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Institute of Transportation Engineers




This paper utilizes a traffic counts database covering a ten year period (1976-1985) to identify travel trends for Montgomery County, a suburb of Washington D.C. Generally, travel behavior is analyzed using person based travel survey data. The use of traffic counts to understand travel behavior is a relatively new approach. Unlike household surveys, which are typically characterized by respondent and sample bias, and require special effort for their collection, traffic counts are routinely collected by Departments of Transportation and provide the best available measure of observed traffic volumes. The study provides fresh evidence to support some of the earlier findings: an increase in lateral commuting as a share of travel, changes in work and non-work trip proportions, and increase in peak spreading. An interesting result in this paper relates to a more pronounced directionality in radial as compared with lateral trips. The relative symmetry of traffic flows along lateral routes compared with radial routes results in better utilization of the suburban road network. Non-work trips emerge as the more elastic trips, shifting to off-peak hours with an increase in congestion.


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MNCPPC - Montgomery County Planning Department

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Previously Published Citation

Levinson, David and Ajay Kumar (1994) Operational Evidence of Changing Travel Patterns. ITE Journal, April 1994 36-44.

Suggested citation

Levinson, David M; Kumar, Ajay. (1994). Operational Evidence of Changing Travel Patterns. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/179847.

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