The project team configured the freely available TBEST software package for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) for use in ridership modeling, Title VI analysis, and other strategic planning initiatives. Fairfax County needed to forecast ridership for planned improvements even as it remained unclear how travel patterns would change from the COVID-19 epidemic. Moreover, the significant role that park-and-rides and transfer connections to Metrorail play in the Fairfax Connector system can be difficult to forecast accurately in any modeling tool.
Foursquare ITP and the project team made numerous improvements to TBEST modeling features to account for Fairfax County’s unique needs, including improved forecasts of park-and-ride ridership, modeling of overlapping services on major transit corridors, and adjustments to account for return-to-normal travel behavior in future forecast years. After assisting FCDOT in setting up TBEST’s required socio-economic data, programming in existing transit system characteristics for the entire region, and validating the model against existing ridership for all regional providers, the project team also led a training workshop for FCDOT staff to learn TBEST’s features.
Foursquare ITP and the project team’s deep experience with the TBEST model led to trustworthy ridership forecasts for the FCDOT’s future year scenarios and laid the groundwork for the agency to conduct its own scenario analyses using TBEST. As a result, FCDOT has completed future year forecasts for its Transit Service Plan and has a fully configured TBEST model ready to use for ridership modeling, service equity analyses, and other planning studies.