Transportation Demand Analysis

Transportation Demand Analysis

Learning Objective: 

Individuals participating in this lesson will be introduced to the foundation for behavioral modeling of passenger vehicle drivers.


Students will demonstrate effective knowledge of the topic through participation in group activities and the various roles assigned to each group member.



This is the opening module for a series of exercises that explore the behavior of passenger vehicle drives and the modeling techniques applied to route choice. The exercise introduces three concepts from related disciplines; namely traffic engineering, economics and computer science. The jigsaw or expert group approach will direct the learning by facilitating the combination of the behavioral motivation grounded in utility maximization of economics, the physical constraints of the road network described by engineering principles, and the execution of the concepts, fyi applying shortest path algorithms from computer science.

The module begins with the class responding to “what is the definition of a model?” The target is to bring out that my working definition is; a simplification of a complex system that allows the explanation of the phenomenon of interest. Each group is asked to reflect on previous discussions for the working definition. The complex system is introduced using a video clip of an aerial panoramic of the LA road network at night (2 minutes for recall and 2 minutes for video)

Three groups will be posed with the task of identifying the elements needed for modeling route choice of individual drives. The desired elements are drivers, road network, and motivation framework of behavior. (4 minutes for identifying elements)

After the original groups list the elements, each member will join one of three expert groups to explore each element in greater depth. One group reviews a video on Utility Maximization, another review a video describing the Dijkstra Shortest Path Algorithm, and the remaining reviews a webpage for the relationship of vehicle speed versus vehicle density. (4 minutes for the viewing). Afterwards all individuals will return to the original groups to begin brainstorming how to combine the three elements.