Central Texas transportation organization compares population projections to U.S. census data

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The CAMPO models revealed a 1% difference between the 2020 U.S. Census data and the agency’s projections. (Iain Oldman / Community Impact Journal)

As data from the 2020 U.S. Census clearly showed, the population of central Texas has skyrocketed over the past decade. With that in mind, the Capital Region Metropolitan Planning Organization looked at how its own data on the region’s growth compared to census data.

CAMPO documents revealed that the planning organization’s travel demand model overestimated population growth in 2020 by around 1%, but underestimated growth by 8% in 2025, compared to data from the US census.

Greg Lancaster, head of travel demand modeling at CAMPO, said the CAMPO model and US Census data don’t match perfectly because CAMPO has released projections for 2015, 2025, 2035 and, more recently, 2045. .

“I want you to notice here that the travel demand model doesn’t have a forecast for 2020,” Lancaster said at CAMPO’s board meeting on October 11.

Instead, Lancaster’s model assumed that growth would be consistent, or linear, from 2015 to 2020, with 2045 as the base year. Likewise, for a projection of 2025 U.S. Census data, he said he used a linear growth rate.

CAMPO’s projections play an important role in identifying transportation projects across the central Texas region, said CAMPO Executive Director Ashby Johnson.

“[The projections] are used to give estimates of future travel demand in the region. They are used by organizations like [the Texas Department of Transportation] to make estimates of the future needs of the project, ”Johnson said. “In addition, the numbers are used by Capital Metro to make estimates of future user demand on the transit system.”


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