Integrated Transportation and Land Use Modeling for the Boise Metropolitan Area

Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Civil Engineering


Civil Engineering

Major Advisor

Mandar Khanal


The research presented in this document aims to model the interactions between transportation and land use in the Boise Metropolitan Area in fulfillment of thesis requirements for my Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering at Boise State University. It involves creating an integrated land use and transportation model for developing a better growth management practice in the study area. The model tests a trend scenario case to simulate the growth of the study area over the next 25 years.

The model study area is the region covered by Ada and Canyon counties in the state of Idaho. Transportation data for this study was supplied by Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho (COMPASS), which is the regional Metropolitan Planning Organization. Land use data was collected from different sources including the US Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The prime objectives of the research are to understand the interactions between land use and transportation, build an integrated modeling framework to model land use and transportation, and to initiate insights which can pave a way for movement towards best practices in growth management of the area.

Understanding the interactions between land use and transportation is a complex process. Though these interactions have been a research topic for a long time, advances on the modeling front do not reflect the progress. This research effort is the first initiative towards integrated transportation and land use modeling in the state of Idaho.

TRANUS is the modeling platform selected for the research, which is a random utility based input-output model that combines activities location, interaction, and land use with a multimodal transport model. This integrated approach models the land use and transport systems of the region, while recognizing and modeling the interactions between both systems.

A base year model was built for the year 2000, which was then developed to a base period model with the period duration from 2000 to 2005. This base period model served as the platform on which scenarios were built and tested. A trend case scenario was tested over the next 25 years, which presented a perspective of growth of the region in the event of continued growth in the trend observed in the base period. Though the model is different in quite a number of aspects from the existing modeling framework of COMPASS, such as the geographic division of the area into zones, the model can be made to suit COMPASS's requirements with additional data collection efforts to enable the merging of the two modeling methodologies.

Model results from this research present a serious perspective of the rapid growth of the region in the next 25 years resulting in increased congestion of the transport network. It points to the areas in the region which will be heavily impacted due to the increased growth, emphasizing the need for reducing congestion for better growth management and also a better quality of life for the people in the region.

The model results show a rapid increase in travel activity in the next 25 years, making this a decisive period for initiating steps for better growth management efforts. The model developed in this study will serve as a valuable tool for doing so. This approach of jointly modeling the effects of land use and transportation presents the planners in the region with a useful tool for initiation of best management practices in the field of urban growth.

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