If you live in the Bloomington-Normal area, you may have noticed ESH EA personnel handing out survey cards in late October and early November. The survey cards were being handed out as part of the O-D Study. An O-D Study is a review of travel information used to determine future traffic patterns.
The purpose of the survey cards is to collect data about actual trips being made in the project study area. The survey cards asked questions like “Where did your trip start?” and “Where did your trip end?” A sample survey card can be seen here. Approximately 20,000 postage paid survey cards were distributed at various intersections within the project study area. The locations selected represent key intersections within the roadway network that help in identifying vehicle distribution within the study area and will provide valuable travel pattern information. For safety purposes, locations were identified where traffic comes to a complete stop at a stop sign or traffic signal. The project stakeholders have indicated that both north-south travel and east-west mobility in the Bloomington-Normal urbanized area is important. The specific survey distribution locations were selected to be representative of the entire roadway network within the Bloomington-Normal community and beyond for their value in providing accurate travel pattern information.
Approximately 30% of all survey cards that were distributed have been returned. This is a great success and participation in the survey is greatly appreciated.
The information from the survey cards will help the project team understand travel patterns (frequently used routes or vehicle movements) in the study area. These patterns will be incorporated, along with projected population and employment data, in the Travel Demand Model to help predict future traffic volumes on roadways within the study area.
A Travel Demand Model is a computer program that estimates future traffic patterns. In developing the model, elements such as existing and proposed roadway and transit networks are considered. Other data components of the model include population and employment data. This information is used to calculate the expected demand for transportation facilities. Within the model, mathematical equations are used to represent each individual’s decision making process of: “Why”, “When”, “Where”, and “How” to make the trip, and “What” route to follow to complete the trip. When a Travel Demand Model is calibrated to existing conditions it can be used to predict future traffic volumes on roadway segments and transit trips.
A Travel Demand Model is needed for the East Side Highway study to help identify congested roadways and evaluate alternatives to solve future traffic problems. The model will be used to predict where these congested locations might occur with and without the construction of an East Side Highway and be used to compare solutions.
The O-D Survey has been documented in a technical memorandum. It includes a description of how the survey was conducted, a summary of the data collected, and how the data will be used. The technical memorandum is available for download here.