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167869-1 Report Abstract

Can Transit Oriented Developments Reduce Austin’s Traffic Congestion?

Ming Zhang and Chang Yi, University of Texas at Austin, October 2006, 33 pp. (167869-1)

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is expected to generate a long list of benefits. Of which reducing car use and relieving traffic congestion are among the top. To what extent can TOD contribute to reduce regional congestion? This paper presents an empirical study of Austin, Texas where a new commuter rail line is under construction and TOD proposals are being developed. The study applied the four-step travel demand modeling to estimate regional travel outcome in one base scenario (No TOD) and two TOD scenarios for the year 2030. Scenario design considers Austin’s TOD ordinance and the All-System-Go Long-Range Transit Plan. Results of the study confirm that TOD would have a great potential to improve regional travel, should it be fully implemented. The improvement is indicated by several measures. First, TOD is estimated to reduce daily PMT by 10-12 million in the region as a whole, or by 3.5-4.5 PMT per person. Second, VMT by the driving modes (SOV and SR) would drop by over 20% while travel by transit and walk/bike increases. The net VMT reduction ranges from 21-27% under the two TOD scenarios. Finally, resulting from TOD practice, the portion of congested roadway in the Austin region is estimated to reduce by 2.2 percentage points, or nearly 700 lane miles. These results provide strong evidence to support TOD practice.

Keywords: Transit-Oriented Development, TOD, Traffic Congestion, Travel Demand Modeling

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 313 KB)