TRB 2016 Blue Ribbon Committee
16th National Transportation Planning Applications Conference

Application of Statewide Modeling: California High-Speed Rail Business Planning

Corresponding Author: Matt Henley, WSP

Presented By: Matt Henley, California High-Speed Rail Authority – Rail Delivery Partner


The passage of Proposition 1A in 2008 authorizes the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) to issue nearly $10 billion in bonds to construct a statewide high-speed rail system. As part of Proposition 1A, voters have required the Authority to demonstrate that the service it plans to run does not require an operating subsidy. As a result, the CHSRA must strategically implement a system in phases where annual operating revenue outpaces operation and maintenance costs (capital and capital replacement expenditures not included). The CHSRA statewide travel demand model – developed and operated by Cambridge Systematics – plays an integral role in the Authority’s biannual business plans, where system implementation and operating forecasts are outlined, and financial viability is established.

This presentation will provide an overview of how the Authority’s statewide travel demand model forecasts impact business planning and system implementation. The presentation will focus on statewide ridership and revenue forecasts, station boarding forecasts, load factor derivation and how each were considered in determining an initial operating segment in the 2016 Business Plan – and how these forecasts compare to the 2014 Business Plan. It will also pay attention to the operating costs and the service assumptions behind the forecasts, which play an equally critical role in demonstrating a viable operating system.

Finally, the presentation will address the subsequent (post-Business Plan) model application for environmental and planning analyses. These analyses required several “build” scenarios beyond the scope of the Business Plan as well as more granular forecast data, such as access and egress mode share and ridership by traffic analysis zone. As a result, statewide model forecasts had to be reconciled to accommodate environmental and planning needs, since the model was not designed to forecast more granular, stationary- level data.

Overall, the presentation will demonstrate how the CHSRA statewide travel demand model was applied and leveraged to support 2016 Business Plan strategic planning through the issuance of the final 2016 Business Plan and on to subsequent environmental and planning forecast needs.


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