Defining Sampling Districts for Household Travel Surveys: A Case Study of the Baltimore Metropolitan Area


This paper provides an additional demonstration of the phenomenon richly illustrated by previous studies that the “character of land development affects trip-making behavior of residents” and makes a case therefore for careful demarcation of survey sampling districts within which to collect household travel data for travel demand forecasting purposes. Using household travel survey data for the Baltimore Metropolitan area, this paper shows that there is more consistency in trip generation rates derived by areas of similar intensities of land development than by rates derived according to political jurisdictions. Additional data on the Portland Metropolitan Area is used to support the hypothesis. In light of the findings from this and previous studies, it is clear that trip rates for metropolitan areas should be derived and applied by areas of “homogeneous” character in recognition of the effects of density and mixture of land uses on trip-making. This paper illustrates this assertion with empirical data on the Baltimore metropolitan area. Conceptually, “area type” is more appealing than demarcations by political jurisdictions. Results of both visual plots and numerical analyses show distinctive differences between the density classes, but not as much between jurisdictions. Comparison of these results depicts “area type” as the more superior form of stratification. Definition of “area type” by density can reasonably capture future changes in land use and activity patterns. The refinement suggested in this paper for demarcation of sampling districts in the conduct of travel surveys is widely applicable in metropolitan areas around the country.


Urban, Community and Regional Planning

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