A&M, Blinn Students Key in Planning Future B-CS Travel

Students from Texas A&M University and Blinn College will soon be helping planners decide future mobility needs in the Bryan-College Station area by taking part in a travel survey conducted by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) with help from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI).

“Obviously students account for a considerable amount of traffic in the Bryan-College Station community,” says Ed Hard, manager of TTI’s Transportation Planning Program. “Knowing how much they travel, which routes they take and where they go will help planners as they develop a travel demand model that forecasts future mobility needs. Proper representation of student travel in the model is vital for projecting realistic travel levels and patterns in B-CS.”

The student survey is part of a larger household travel survey, which has not been conducted in the Bryan-College Station area since 1970. A professional survey firm hired by TxDOT will collect data from 2000 households and 2000 students. TTI researchers will analyze the information, which will then become part of a travel-demand model used by the local metropolitan planning organization to forecast future traffic levels and transportation improvement needs in Bryan-College Station.

The household survey, which begins in January, is completely voluntary and anonymous and will record the travel of a participant over a 24-hour period.

“Households — including student dwellings — in the B-CS area will be randomly contacted to request their participation in the survey. Once an individual agrees to participate, those conducting the survey will explain the process. Participants will have the option of mailing in completed packets, filling out information on the web or answering questions over the phone. Students may also be approached on campus and asked to participate.”

The household survey is one of three travel surveys to be conducted in the community. Researchers will conduct commercial-vehicle and workplace surveys following the household survey, all of which are funded by state and federal sponsors. The information collected covers different components of travel.

“Because our area has grown so much over the last few decades, it’s become even more important that we have reliable information about travel patterns as decision makers plan for the future,” Hard says.