Innovations in Estimating Trip Generation Rates

June 11, 2020

Proposed Motion

The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) votes to approve this work program.

Project Identification

Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) Classification

Boston Region MPO Planning Studies and Technical Analyses

Project Number 13295


Boston Region MPO

Project Supervisors

Principal: Paul Christner
Manager: Bradley Putnam

Funding Source

MPO Planning and §5303 Contract #108217

Schedule and Budget

Schedule: 3 months after work commences

Budget: $30,000

Schedule and budget details are shown in Exhibits 1 and 2, respectively.

Relationship to MPO Goals

The Boston Region MPO elected to fund this study with its federally allocated metropolitan planning funds during federal fiscal year (FFY) 2020. The work completed through this study will address the following goal areas established in the MPO’s Long-Range Transportation Plan: capacity management and mobility, transportation equity, and economic vitality.


An important step in understanding the impacts that a new development will have on its surroundings and the transportation network at large is estimating the number of new trips it will generate. Traditionally, trip generation rates for different land use types are provided by the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ (ITE) Trip Generation Manual. However, the data for this manual is generally collected from suburban, single-use sites, and it tends to overestimate vehicle trips and excludes trips by transit, biking, or walking, particularly for mixed-use developments and in urban areas.

There are some efforts underway across the country to develop trip generation rates by other means than the ITE manual. These methodologies typically involve gathering characteristics about the development, including neighborhood density, household incomes, availability of transit service, and other demographic data. MPO staff believe a more thorough investigation into these methodologies would be beneficial to the Boston region.

In this study, staff will research innovative approaches to estimating trip generation and best practices for developing trip generation rates for urban areas that better account for non-auto (transit, bicycle, and pedestrian) trips. This research will inform and support a number of ongoing and upcoming efforts in the region to improve the trip generation rates used to project travel by all modes. Some examples of the other efforts mainly focused on collecting and using local data to adjust ITE rates for the Greater Boston context are as follows:

  1. MPO staff will undertake a UPWP study next year to examine the applicability of ITE rates to the Boston region based on recently completed development impact studies for different types of developments in the area and household survey data.
  2. The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) has been collecting and analyzing before-and-after data from recently completed projects to assess the ITE rates.
  3. MAPC has been working with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to submit Massachusetts data to ITE.
  4. The University of Massachusetts Lowell is proposing a study of technology to monitor person-trip activity at developments and create custom trip generation rates specific to certain land uses in Massachusetts.



The primary objectives of this project are as follows:

  1. To identify innovative approaches from around the country for estimating trip generation rates, including transit, bicycle, and pedestrian trips, for new developments in urban areas
  2. To inform ongoing work in the region on this topic

Work Description

Work will be completed according to the following tasks:

Task 1  Conduct a literature review

Staff will review the literature to identify innovative approaches to estimating trip generation for urban areas that better account for non-auto (transit, bicycle, and pedestrian) trips. When promising innovative approaches are found, staff will attempt to identify and reach out to relevant parties to obtain more detailed information.

Product of Task 1

A technical memorandum documenting the results of the literature review

Task 2  Present the findings to the MPO board

Staff will present the findings of the literature review to the MPO board

Product of Task 2

A presentation to the MPO board

The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) operates its programs, services, and activities in compliance with federal nondiscrimination laws including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, and related statutes and regulations. Title VI prohibits discrimination in federally assisted programs and requires that no person in the United States of America shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin (including limited English proficiency), be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives federal assistance. Related federal nondiscrimination laws administered by the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, or both, prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, sex, and disability. The Boston Region MPO considers these protected populations in its Title VI Programs, consistent with federal interpretation and administration. In addition, the Boston Region MPO provides meaningful access to its programs, services, and activities to individuals with limited English proficiency, in compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation policy and guidance on federal Executive Order 13166.

The Boston Region MPO also complies with the Massachusetts Public Accommodation Law, M.G.L. c 272 sections 92a, 98, 98a, which prohibits making any distinction, discrimination, or restriction in admission to, or treatment in a place of public accommodation based on race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or ancestry. Likewise, the Boston Region MPO complies with the Governor's Executive Order 526, section 4, which requires that all programs, activities, and services provided, performed, licensed, chartered, funded, regulated, or contracted for by the state shall be conducted without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, disability, veteran's status (including Vietnam-era veterans), or background.

A complaint form and additional information can be obtained by contacting the MPO or at To request this information in a different language or in an accessible format, please contact

Title VI Specialist
Boston Region MPO
10 Park Plaza, Suite 2150
Boston, MA 02116
857.702.3700 (voice)
617.570.9193 (TTY)

Exhibit 1
Innovations in Estimating Trip Generation

1 2 3
Conduct a literature review
From Month 1, Week 1 to Month 3, Week 2.
Delivered by Month 3, Week 2.
Present the findings to the MPO board
From Month 3, Week 3 to Month 3, Week 4.
Delivered by Month 3, Week 4.
A: Literature review technical memorandum
B: Presentation to MPO board

Exhibit 2
Innovations in Estimating Trip Generation

Direct Salary and Overhead


Person-Weeks Direct
M-1 P-5 P-2 Total
Conduct a literature review
2.0 0.0 7.0 9.0 $11,465 $11,707 $23,172
Present the findings to the MPO board
0.8 0.2 1.3 2.3 $3,378 $3,450 $6,828
2.8 0.2 8.3 11.3 $14,843 $15,157 $30,000

Other Direct Costs



MPO Planning and §5303 Contract #108217