The Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio Transportation Departments formed a coalition to investigate the feasibility of adding dedicated truck lanes to I-70 through their 165-mile-long, four-state corridor.
As a subconsultant, Lochmueller Group (Lochgroup) provided specialized planning and environmental services to support the traffic and revenue forecasts, economic impact analysis, and environmental screening of the alternatives. Lochgroup’s responsibilities included:
- Review of Phase I traffic and toll revenue forecasts
- Specialized travel demand analysis to estimate the accrual of economic benefits within and beyond the four-state corridor
- Meta-analysis of available data, models, and literature to support the development of key economic impact and travel demand parameters including values of time, emission rates and costs, crash rates and costs, vehicle occupancy, trip rates, and lengths
- Environmental fatal flaws analysis for the Phase I alternatives utilizing GIS
Lochgroup’s analyses synthesized data from many sources including multiple statewide and MPO travel models, the National Household Travel Survey, GIS databases, and numerous analyses and reports in order to develop the best possible assumptions for the I-70 corridor.
For decades, residents in Indiana debated the need for an interstate to connect Indianapolis to Evansville in Southwestern Indiana. Lochmueller Group (Lochgroup) helped the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) produce the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which selected a broad corridor for the 142 miles of interstate.
In April 2004, INDOT initiated the I-69 Tier 2 Studies & Environmental Impact Statements, which then narrowed the study to an actual alignment within the selected corridor. INDOT hired Lochgroup as the Program Manager to oversee the project development activities of six section consultants. Lochgroup also performed corridor-wide traffic modeling and analysis and environmental and ecological studies.
The traffic-related services included travel demand modeling, forecasting, microsimulation, and transportation systems analysis and traffic operations analysis. Lochgroup also developed a highly disaggregated I-69 Corridor sub-area model based on the Indiana Statewide Travel Demand Model, which will serve as a basis for long-range traffic forecasts and as an input to microsimulation models.
Microsimulation analysis was also performed on the segments of I-69 that serve heavily urbanized areas, specifically Bloomington, Martinsville, and Indianapolis. In these three areas, questions concerning access, frontage roads, roadway and interchange design, and traffic operations were addressed.
The microsimulation models featured detailed network, 3D environment and terrain, vehicle-actuated signalized intersections, and mix of vehicle fleet composition. All models were calibrated for the base year with extensive mainlane counts and turning movement volumes. Video footage from main intersections was compared visually with the animations resulting from the simulation.
Lochgroup’s professionals then calculated the average performance measures for each design concept based on repeated modeling runs.
Lochmueller Group (Lochroup) performed several updates to the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) statewide, activity-based, travel demand model over a 3-year period as part of a contract for economic modeling enhancements. An array of modifications was instituted to enhance the model’s ability to forecast the economic benefits of transportation infrastructure investments. Specific updates included the following:
- Instituted a logit-based Toll Choice model to provide more robust forecasts for toll roads, replacing the traditional method of identifying toll users in assignment.
- Disaggregated vehicles classes from 2 (car and truck) to 7 (low-, medium-, high-income for cars; 4-tire commercial vehicles; and small, medium, and large trucks).
- Achieved a faster and more stable assignment convergence by instituting relative gap or cost-based convergence criteria and adjusting the assignment algorithm.
- Developed a user-benefits tool to estimate the costs of transportation and the anticipated savings resulting from infrastructure projects. Cost components included vehicle operating costs, travel time costs, travel time reliability, safety and work zones.
- Introduced asset deterioration so the effects of routine maintenance, deferred maintenance, or completely new infrastructure could be considered in routing decisions and the identification of transportation user benefits.
- Extended the user-benefits tool to address economic impacts, converting travel cost savings into job creation, increased household income, and increased output and production using a version of the nationally-recognized TREDIS tool, which was individually customized for ODOT.
The enhanced model better facilitates project evaluations and provides a more complete picture of the economic impact of ODOT’s transportation spending.