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

Using Big Data to Understand Differences between Weekday and Weekend Travel

Corresponding Author: Leta Huntsinger, WSP

Presented By: Leta Huntsinger, Xuan Wang, WSP


Household travel surveys and the travel models developed from those surveys typically represent average weekday travel. However, it is often the case that transportation planners and decision makers want to understand the impact of weekend travel on the transportation system, especially for communities with high levels of visitor travel such as that found in Washoe County, Nevada with over 4 million visitors per year. The primary interest revolves around whether weekend travel is considerably different, and if so, how that would impact project prioritization and decision making.

The opportunity to answer such questions arose recently with the purchase of mobile phone data to support model validation for the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County, Nevada. The data included average weekday and average weekend travel for October 2015. Average weekday travel was compared against average weekend travel for that same time period to better understand differences in basic trip statistics such as trips per household, trips per person, and average trip lengths. Comparisons were also made for trips by trip type, district to district flow, and differences in the assignments of weekday versus weekend trips to the highway network. Several key projects were identified and performance measures evaluated using the two separate assignments. Finally, mobile phone data also includes records for visitors to the region, and these travel patterns for weekday versus weekend were compared.

This presentation will report on those findings and will offer insight into how travel patterns vary between weekdays versus weekends for this region, and whether mobile phone data can be a low cost data source for addressing questions related to these two types of travel.


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