A Guide for the Development and Use of Truck Traffic Forecasts in Design

Transportation planning and design require different levels of detail with respect to forecasting travel behavior, demand, and use. Whereas many planning decisions can be supported by typical outputs of a four-step travel demand model, these same outputs are insufficiently precise to support many of the decisions being made during detailed project development and design. Truck traffic forecasting is often conducted as a post process of the data results from a travel demand model or is conducted using commodity flow or other economic and statistical models. Yet, a variety of specific decisions regarding the placement, quantity, length, and geometry of facilities to support a specific volume and type of truck traffic would benefit from more specific data, methods, and techniques for using truck traffic forecasts in project design. Among the limitations of typical travel forecasting models are the ability to predict the specific volumes, weights, and movements of trucks on highways. Truck traffic imposes specific design requirements to accommodate their unique weights and configurations. Transportation agencies and freight distributors need to assess truck travel in different contexts, including but not limited to long-haul goods transportation, local, and last-mile freight deliveries. State departments of transportation (DOTs) and modeling professionals are responding to these challenges by creating more accurate and responsive models and model applications, particularly as the research and development of modeling methods and techniques continue to advance. Nevertheless, the transportation industry is not uniform with respect to its technical knowledge, capabilities, budgets, or other resources needed to develop and apply sophisticated models and decision tools to support project design decision-making. While some state DOTs have the resources to supplement in-house staff or hire outside experts to conduct model runs and analyses, many others simply do not have that capacity. The objective of this research is to develop a guide to assist state DOTs and other agencies in the selection and use of forecasting models, applications, procedures, tools, and techniques needed to support project design.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $425000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 08-153

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Weeks, Jennifer

  • Performing Organizations:

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    Department of Civil Engineering
    Troy, NY  United States  12180-3590
  • Principal Investigators:

    Holguin-Veras, Jose

  • Start Date: 20240116
  • Expected Completion Date: 20260715
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01772463
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 08-153
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 25 2021 3:45PM