The TRENDS model is designed to provide transportation planners, policy makers, and the public with a tool to forecast revenues and expenses for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for the period 2010 through 2035 based on a user-defined level of transportation investment. The user, through interactive windows, can control a number of variables related to assumptions regarding statewide transportation needs, population growth rates, fuel efficiency, federal reimbursement rates, inflation rates, taxes, fees, and other elements. The output is a set of tables and graphs showing a forecast of revenues, expenditures, and fund balances for each year of the analysis period based on the user-defined assumptions.
Since the inception of the TRENDS model, there has been a desire to incorporate the ability to estimate the economic impacts of transportation improvements, allowing decision-makers and the public to have a more defined portrayal of the potential economic and performance improvement outcomes associated with investment decisions. TTI is currently working on developing an economic impact model producing economic and mobility results at the MPO level, allowing the “local-option” function of the TRENDS model to be joined with an economic impact assessment tool.
- D.R. Ellis, B.A. Glover, N.D. Norboge. Development of the Transportation Revenue Estimator and Needs Determination System (TRENDS) Forecasting Model: MPO Sub-Models and Maintenance. 5-6395-01-1. Texas A&M Transportation Institute, College Station, TX. November 2011.
- D.R. Ellis, B.A. Glover, N.D. Norboge, Y. Zhi. Development of the Texas Revenue Estimator and Needs Determination System (T.R.E.N.D.S.) Model: FY 2010 Activities. 0-6395-TI-2. Texas A&M Transportation Institute, College Station, TX. July 2010.
Value of Urban Parking Spaces
In 2017, TTI will investigate the effects that a ‘smart parking system has on land value, state and local revenue, and congestion. This research will lead to the development of a model framework that cities or the State of Texas can use to create and capture development and congestion benefits. This model will estimate congestion reduction benefits from implementing a ‘smart’ parking system and its impact on the need for current and future parking. Analyses will also be conducted to identify potential revenue from redevelopment of these areas.
DART Local Area Benefit/Cost Evaluation System
The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) contracted with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute to develop a benefit/cost and economic impact assessment tool. This tool provides prospective DART partners with macro-level estimates of the impacts of potential new transit stations at locations within cities that are not currently part of the DART service area. Specifically, this tool estimates property and sales tax impacts, primary and secondary employment figures, and regional economic activity impacts related to the construction and operation of prospective DART rail and bus rapid transit (BRT) stations.
Forecasting Highway Construction Costs
This is an ongoing study with the Transportation Research Policy Center at TTI. The TRENDS Model is a tool to forecast revenues and expenses for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for the period 2016 through 2040. The model is updated on a monthly basis to include the latest cash forecasts and letting schedules from TxDOT. In addition, as updates regarding population forecasts, inflation rates, fuel efficiency, and other variables become available they are incorporated into the model.
Transportation Economic Indicators
Beginning in 2016, TTI researchers will create and maintain a set of easily understandable transportation related economic indicators that can help inform the conversation regarding the current state of transportation. Some of the indicators to be included are direct measurements of transportation activity, while others, such as housing market activity or general employment, are symptomatic indicators of transportation demand. In addition to these, others are direct or indirect measures of transportation related tax revenue. These indicators will allow researchers, policy makers, and the general public to quickly see the current state of the economy, as it pertains to transportation, on a monthly basis. The indicators will cover the general economy of Texas, the transportation sector, the energy sector, and the housing sector.