Transport planning relies extensively on forecasts of traveler behavior over horizons of 20 years and more. Implicit in such forecasts is the assumption that travelers’ tastes, as represented by the behavioral model parameters, are constant over time. In technical terms, this assumption is referred to as the “temporal transferability” of the models. This paper summarizes the findings from a literature review that demonstrates there is little evidence about the transferability of mode-destination models over typical forecasting horizons. The literature review shows a relative lack of empirical studies given the importance of the issue. To provide further insights and evidence, models of commuter mode-destination choice been developed from household interview data collected across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area in 1986, 1996, 2001, and 2006. The analysis demonstrates that improving model specification improves the transferability of the models, and in general the transferability declines as the transfer period increases. The transferability of the level-of-service parameters is higher than transferability of the cost parameters, which has important implications when considering the accuracy of forecasts for different types of policy. The transferred models over-predict the key change in mode share over the transfer period—specifically, the shift from local transit to auto driver between 1986 and 1996—but under-predict the growth in commuting tour lengths over the same period.
Fox, J., Daly, A., Hess, S. & Miller, E. (2014), Temporal transfer of models of mode and destination choice for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area. Journal of Transport and Land Use, 7 (2), pp 41-62.