Lehman Center for Transportation Research at Florida International University

A Study of Alternative Land Use Forecasting Models

  • Sponsor: Florida Department of Transportation
  • Contact: Dr. Fang Zhao, 305-348-3821, zhaof@fiu.edu

  • The Florida Standard urban Transportation Modeling Structure (FSUTMS) requires socioeconomic data to predict future travel demand and transportation needs. Future socioeconomic data are estimated based on forecast future land use, which is determined by an array of factors such as changes in population, demographics, structure of local economy, real estate market, land use and growth policies, environmental constraints, and so on. Because of the complex forces behind land use changes, forecasting future land use has been and remains a challenging task.

    In the past, a number of land use models have been developed. These models, however, either do not model some of the important land development processes such as household location choice, employment location choice, or real estate development and prices, or they model many important processes at an aggregate level instead of decision-making processes by discrete choice. In recent years, new land use models are being developed that model individuals’ choices on residential and employment locations as well as real estate market. UrbanSim is a land use model based on economic theories that simulates such discrete choices and predicts changes in land use in small time steps. It applies an alternative approach for forecasting future land use transportation interaction by simulating development and redevelopment of property and individual decisions of locating household and business.

    While UrbanSim appears to be a promising land use forecasting model, its capabilities and implementation requirements need be evaluated in terms of accurate modeling of land use changes, data requirements, functions, and tools that may be needed for data processing and interfacing with transportation models. As Florida is unique in many aspects compared to typical urban areas in the nation, including demographics, geography, economy, and environment, these unique factors need to be considered.

    This project involves a study of UrbanSim and other land use modeling approaches currently employed in Florida. The goal is to determine the requirements for a land use model in Florida urban areas, appropriate methodologies/models for land use forecasting, and application issues. The potential of UrbanSim as a land use model in Florida will be evaluated.