Transportation Planning

King County Metro Support for ORCA Data Analysis Improvements

Analysis of electronic transit farecard data can provide insight into how travelers use the system and how their behavior changes as both the urban form and transit services change over time. It can be used to answer a variety of policy questions, ranging from the impacts of adopted policies on transit use, to the quantity and quality of trips taken, to the differences in transit services provided to neighborhoods of different income levels to determine the equity of transit services provided throughout the region.  The Next Generation One Regional Card for All (NG ORCA) effort includes the development and deployment of a database system called DARe (Data Access and Reporting), which is being used to collect, manage, and store data on the use of ORCA cards and accounts. However, to date transit agency analysts have not fully taken advantage of its reporting function. The UW has an ORCA data reporting system that currently houses data from January 2019 through May 2022. This project is funding continued improvements to the UW system.

Principal Investigator: Ryan Avery, Washington State Transportation Center, UW
Sponsor: King County Metro
Metro Technical Monitor: Melissa Gaughan
Scheduled completion: September 2023

Equity in Planning

To help increase equity in transportation planning, this project will seek to determine key performance indicators that measure the effects of transportation projects on vulnerable populations, overburdened communities, and tribes. The researchers will comb the literature for both leading indicators and the performance metrics to measure them. On the basis of the leading indicators collected, the researchers will survey planners to gather further information about strategies that have been or could be used to address equity issues. This information will be organized into a Table of Equity Strategies, with literature review data presented at the census tract level and community engagement data presented at the county level. Planners will be able to use the resulting information in determining how to approach equity in their transportation projects. 

Principal Investigator: Bethany Gordon, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW
Sponsor: WSDOT
WSDOT Technical Monitor: Faris Al-Memar
WSDOT Project Manager: Jon Peterson 
Scheduled completion: February 2024

WSDOT Toll Equity

WSDOT uses roadway tolling as a way to manage demand on I-405, SR 167, SR 99, and SR 520 and to fund megaprojects. While tolls are true “user fees,” they can be a significant expense to roadway users, and therefore they raise serious equity concerns. Work for the WSDOT’s Tolling Division by the UW Data Science for Social Good program provided insight into the equity of the tolling program on I-405’s Express Toll lanes. However, little is known about the equity impacts of WSDOT’s other facilities. This project will provide additional insight into the equity of WSDOT’s various toll facilities. The project will help WSDOT better understand current use of its toll facilities, and it will examine how the combination of household income and tolling fees affect the use of state roadways. Researchers will also provide insight into how costs and benefits associated with toll facilities are distributed and will provide a baseline of use against which changes in economic or policy conditions can be measured.

Principal Investigator: Mark E. Hallenbeck, Washington State Transportation Center, UW
Sponsor: WSDOT
WSDOT Technical Monitor: Tyler Patterson
WSDOT Project Manager: Doug Brodin
Scheduled completion: July 2023

Analysis and Tools to Set Priorities for EV Charging Stations Locations on WSDOT Corridors

Washington state has 68,000 plug-in electric vehicles registered and estimates it will need one million more on its roads by 2030 to meet its greenhouse gas emissions goals. To meet the anticipated growth in electric vehicle adoption, the state will also need sufficient charging and refueling infrastructure to serve the public. In 2020, the Washington Legislature passed HB1287, which requires WSDOT’s Innovative Partnerships Office to develop and maintain a publicly available mapping and forecasting tool that will provide locations and essential information about charging and refueling infrastructure across Washington state. WSDOT previously supported research that led to the creation of ChargEVal, a simulation tool with a web-based interface that screens Washington’s highway network for adequate coverage of direct current fast charging (DCFC) stations and simulates the impacts of new, user-specified charging station locations on electric vehicle travel and charging demand. This project is building upon that previous work by enhancing the functionality of ChargeEVal, and it will provide technical guidance to WSDOT on a plan to deliver the mapping and forecasting tool required by HB1287.

Principal Investigator:  Don MacKenzie, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW
Sponsor: WSDOT
WSDOT Technical Contact: Tonia Buell
WSDOT Project Manager: Doug Brodin
Scheduled completion: June 2023

Promises of Data from Emerging Technologies for Transportation Applications: PSRC Case Study, Planned Continuation and Expansion of Phase II

Emerging technologies such as automated vehicles, advanced data analytics and machine learning, and on-demand ride services will not only fundamentally alter the transportation landscape but will provide new data that can be used for transportation planning and analysis. This project is examining the properties of these new data and identifying potential applications. Phase I developed a preliminary framework for integrating emerging and conventional data from diverse sources. Using the Seattle SR 99 Tunnel Tolling Project as a case study, Phase II began to demonstrate the value of emerging big data (more specifically, app-based data) and their fusion with data from other, conventional sources in evaluating a project’s impact on transportation system performance and in answering critical and time-sensitive planning and policy-related questions. This continuation of Phase II will focus on investigating other potential future data sources, such as transportation network companies, insurance providers, and automakers, and on sharing methodologies created for data processing, origin/destination estimation, and validation. The researchers will make all work open source in order to help state, regional, and local agencies better coordinate among agencies and with data providers.

Principal Investigators:
Jeff Ban, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW
Cynthia Chen, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UW

Sponsor: WSDOT
WSDOT Technical Monitor: Natarajan Janarthanan
WSDOT Project Manager: Doug Brodin
Scheduled completion: December 2023