A recent article published in TR News, titled “Peaks and Valleys: Forecasting Recreational Travel Demand,” highlighted the RSG team's innovative work on National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 08-132: Accessing America’s Great Outdoors: Forecasting Recreational Travel Demand.
Our team leveraged our significant expertise in travel model development, mobility data analytics, and public lands planning to deliver results. This first-of-its-kind project leveraged passively collected data (“big data”) from location-based services (LBS) on smartphones and other devices, along with other datasets, to build models predicting recreational travel to America's public lands. Merging big data with other key datasets provided a better understanding of visitor travel patterns and the potential impacts on adjacent transportation infrastructure. Importantly, this research advanced the industry's understanding of how big data can support successful transportation planning activities in and around parkland areas.
Work on NCHRP 08-132 is now complete and the final deliverables include a model, which will be shared online in an open-source tool, and an accompanying user guidebook.
RSG, in partnership with STV Incorporated, recently presented key findings from our independent review of an ultra-high-speed ground transportation system (UHSGT)—which would connect Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, and other key points in the Pacific Northwest—during a meeting of the Washington State Legislature Joint Transportation Committee (JTC) on Tuesday, June 20, 2023.
The JTC had been considering advancing the UHSGT idea forward to a more detailed development phase. However, before that, they sought our team's expertise to perform a neutral, impartial review of the assumptions used in prior studies on this topic. Our team focused on three aspects as part of the transportation forecasting process we undertook:
1. Assessing the quality and reasonability of past studies.
2. Identifying additional factors for consideration in the UHSGT's future development.
3. Drawing insights from other high-speed ground transportation systems for UHSGT development.
After conducting detailed due diligence, trade-off, and governance and procurement analyses, we found that the methods and tools used in prior UHSGT studies comply with industry standards. The assumptions were applied appropriately, generating credible results. However, our review also exposed some features and assumptions that, although suitable for current study levels, lack the robustness required for investment-grade analyses needed for advanced project development. The final report is available here.
RSG and our client partners at the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) received the “Best Panel Presentation” award at the Transportation Research Board's Conference on Innovations in Travel Analysis and Planning. The presentation was given by Adam Argo, Principal Planner at ODOT. RSG Director Jon Slason co-presented the topic.
The award-winning presentation, titled “Oregon Transportation Plan: Case Studies of Utilizing Scenario Planning in an Era of Rapid Change and Uncertainty,” focused on our team's joint efforts to develop an innovative scenario planning model for the Oregon Transportation Plan (OTP). The OTP is an outcome-driven plan guiding Oregon's transportation system for the next 20-25 years. It prioritizes equity, safety, sustainability, economic vitality, and multimodal travel options.
ODOT, with RSG's expertise, employed a financially bounded modeling approach to explore investment prioritization in an uncertain future. The project integrated cutting-edge tools like VisionEval and TMIP-EMAT. This collaboration enabled the evaluation of thousands of potential futures, offering quantitative insights for statewide planning use by practitioners. The OTP addresses key questions regarding investment choices, prioritization strategies, and the influence of emerging technologies and climate change.
Greg Mandelman joins RSG as Vice President of Market Research and brings nearly 20 years of experience tackling complex social and analytical challenges around the world.
Throughout his career, Greg has been integral to the success of transformative projects, with a focus on conducting behavioral energy research and modeling transportation electrification trends. He has overseen a multimillion-dollar portfolio of behavioral energy research, led a team of statisticians and analysts at a major utility company, and designed an electric vehicle energy impact forecasting model for state regulators in California.
“I’m thrilled to join RSG,” said Greg. “RSG does what few firms can by pairing data collection with modeling and analysis to deliver exceptional client solutions. In addition to this, RSG’s focus on behavioral research means I can continue to help clients in the energy and vehicle electrification spaces while being part of a larger team that delivers unmatched research and analytics.”
Greg's experience leading behavioral research in the transportation and energy sectors will help RSG continue to deliver exceptional survey-based research services to our clients while expanding into new, high-growth markets.
Ken Kaliski, Principal at RSG, was appointed as Project Leader for the revision of ISO 1996-1 during the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) ISO/TC 43 “Acoustics” Plenary Meeting in Montreal, Canada, held from May 2 to May 6, 2023. The ISO 1996-1 is an international standard on acoustics, focusing on the description, measurement, and assessment of environmental noise.
In his new role, Ken's duties will include managing the ISO standard's content to create an updated international standard. This task will require collecting the most recent research for drafting the standard, fostering agreement among the global community, and facilitating several comment and response rounds. ISO delegates will then vote on the updated standard. Ken will supervise the process as Project Leader.
“I'm thrilled to take on the Project Leader role for the revision of ISO 1996-1, Acoustics — Description, measurement and assessment of environmental noise — Part 1: Basic quantities and assessment procedures,” Ken said. “I eagerly anticipate contributing to a global agreement to enhance the procedures that practitioners rely on. I'd like to extend my gratitude to the previous Project Leader, Stephen Keith, the US delegation for their nomination, and Douglas Manville, the Convenor of Working Group 45.”
RSG's noise control engineering service depends on national and international standards like ISO 1996-1. Ken's role as Project Leader will ensure these standards remain current and relevant. The final revised standard will contribute to enhancing our service quality and helping our projects earn acceptance from clients and regulators.
RSG's Ken Kaliski (Principal) and Ryan Haac (Consultant) co-wrote a paper with experts from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Vermont Environmental Research Associates, Inc., titled “Effects of land-based wind turbine upsizing on community sound levels and power and energy density,” on wind turbine upsizing's impact on community sound and power output levels, published in the journal Applied Energy. Their paper will be the subject of a webinar on April 13, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. ET (10:00 a.m. PT).
The team studied larger turbines' effects on micro-siting, power, energy density, and noise. They used desktop software to model larger turbines on two wind development sites and three turbine models representing past, present, and future periods for three manufacturers. The study aimed to maximize the number of turbines and total power output within each site's constraints.
The findings suggest that future larger turbines will lead to fewer turbines per land unit and lower community sound levels, but with increased capacity and energy output.
Key results include:
Kevin Johnson joins RSG as a Director and brings over 17 years of experience managing large multimodal transportation planning projects.
Kevin has worked primarily on big data and travel modeling projects, integrating big data into the model validation process to improve the accuracy of forecasts.
“Solving complex problems for clients through innovative travel behavior modeling has been at the core of my professional work to date,” said Kevin. “I’m excited to continue my career at RSG where I hope to contribute to work advancing the state of the practice of model development and application.”
Kevin's experience delivering models and datasets that improve project outcomes will help RSG continue to deliver client-focused solutions in the travel model development and passive mobility data analytics spaces.
RSG has appointed Tim Young as our new Chief Technology Officer (CTO). This newly created position, which replaces the Chief Information Officer (CIO) role, recognizes and elevates the importance of RSG's technical, software, and data science services and offerings.
As CTO, Tim will help us continue to deliver a client-oriented approach to solving complex problems, ensuring alignment between RSG's technological resources and the shifting needs of our clients. “With the ever-changing marketplace, it will be critical for us to make informed and strategic decisions about the future,” said Tim. “I'm thrilled to lead the team that will help RSG meet the evolving technological needs of our clients.”
RSG is an industry leader in the technological product and services space. In addition to developing rMove™, the world's most accurate approach for location-aware market research, RSG has developed or been integral to the creation of several open-source applications. These tools include ActivitySim, STOPS (Simplified Trips-on-Project Software), and VisionEval, among others.
Jeremy Wilhelm joins RSG as a Director and brings over 15 years of experience as a project manager with a focus on data analysis and consensus-building.
Jeremy has directed work on transportation and mobility, education, and public health projects, most notably in the household travel survey space.
“Joining RSG feels like a natural continuation of my educational and professional path,” said Jeremy. “I’m excited to help RSG build on its reputation for conducting high-quality research and delivering impactful, insightful tools.”
Jeremy's proven track record of turning survey results into practical solutions that unite stakeholders around shared goals will help RSG continue to deliver exceptional survey-based research services to our clients.
The Federal Transit Administration's Simplified Trips-on-Project Software (STOPS) was this year's recipient of the Zephyr Foundation's Impactful Research Award. This award recognizes a research project that has had the most relatively recent impact on bettering the travel analysis field for the public good.
RSG worked with FTA to develop STOPS, which streamlines the development of ridership forecasts. These forecasts are a key element of project evaluation. The STOPS forecasting system utilizes information from the Census Transportation Planning Package. Planners can code project changes to General Transit Feed Specification files and then run the software to determine future ridership for the project as a whole and for each station.
RSG is proud to have been a participant in the creation of STOPS and congratulates FTA on this significant accomplishment.