In 1990, MCAG created a travel demand model for use in the county of Merced. This model was created as a planning tool, to evaluate potential traffic impacts resulting from urban and rural development.
Subsequent to the model's creation, it has come to be used in additional ways. Since 1993, it has been used in the air quality conformity analysis that must be performed on MCAG's plans and programs. The model is also used as one of the data sources in identifying and prioritizing regional transportation projects, during the development of Regional Transportation Plans. It is also used in corridor studies such as those done for State Routes 99, 152, and 165. Lastly, MCAG maintains much of the traffic count information for its jurisdictions and is the regional source for traffic projections in Merced County.
A comprehensive traffic model update and re-validation was performed from 2003-06. The improved model was validated to a base year of 2000 and is able to forecast traffic for any year out to 2035. It was used in the development of the 2011 Regional Transportation Plan. The traffic model was also used to develop baseline greenhouse gas emissions for submittal to the California Air Resources Board as outlined in the SB 375 legislation.
Traffic model improvements will be performed under the “SB 375 Model Improvement” work element. This element will be prepared by MDSS, Inc under an agreement with MCAG.