Travel Forecasting

Travel forecasting answers questions about future performance of the multimodal transportation system based on logical extrapolations of travel behavior and assumptions about future conditions. Forecasts can be used to compare large-scale scenarios, understand the effect of existing policy assumptions on traffic or transit usage, or to understand the impacts or value of major transportation investments.

The Met Council, like all large metropolitan planning organizations, maintains a regional transportation forecasting model. The model is used to forecast travel for all types of transportation and highway and transit facility usage.

The model is regularly updated to reflect changes in

  • Regional transportation networks (roadways, transit routes)
  • Observed demographics
  • Observed travel patterns and behaviors
  • Best-practice methods
  • Important policy issues

The current regional travel demand forecast model is called an “activity-based model”, which means that it simulates transportation decisions made by individuals ranging from long-term (e.g. regular work/school location, whether to own an automobile), day-level (e.g, what activities to engage in, with whom, where, and when), and trip-level (what transportation mode to use, what route to take) in order to evaluate policy and investment choices  at a high level of detail.

Other, more single-purpose forecast models are maintained by the Council as well, including a regional implementation of the FTA’s STOPS model for transitway ridership forecasting, as well as a regional park-and ride model.


Jonathan Ehrlich