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600451-00074-1 Report Abstract

Future Mobility Demand in Megaregions:  A National Study with a Focus on the Gulf Coast

Ming Zhang and Wenjia Zhang, September 2013

About three fourth of national population and wealth are concentered in the 11 megaregional areas that occupy one fourth of the land areas in the US. NHTS reveal that megaregions also concentrate current and future mobility demand. This report presents an approach that utilizes aggregate data for mobility study (for both passenger and freight) in a megaregional scale through a case study of the Gulf Coast megaregion (GCM). GCM exhibits unique travel characteristics relative to the national trend. A preliminary analysis on freight flow was also conducted for the GCM areas utilizing the 2002 and 2007 Commodity Flow Survey (CFS) data. The study shows that the GCM area would experience an enormous amount of mobility growth by year 2050. The per capita traffic volume generated by each traveler in 2050 would double the 2010 level. The total traffic volume in 2050 would grow much faster, four times higher than in 2010. Freight demand in the GCM area is also fast growing. The projected trends of future travel demand indicate a growing pressure on the transportation infrastructure in GCM. It is unlikely that the demand for high-speed travel can all be met by air travel. Accordingly, planning for megaregional transportation should seriously consider high-speed travel in the form of High Speed Rail (HSR) to accommodate the future travel demand in the GCM area.

Keywords: Travel Demand, Megaregion, the Gulf Coast Megaregion (GCM), High-speed Travel

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 1.6 MB)