The Center for Teaching Old Models New Tricks (TOMNET), is a Tier 1 University Transportation Center (UTC) at Arizona State University (ASU). Aptly named, it is researching behaviors that affect mobility choices: how do people choose to get around; how many and what types of vehicles do they own; when do they travel and to where are just some of the key patterns they study. TOMNET is developing and implementing new models that can accurately forecast future travel demand in the face of such "new tricks" as transformational technologies. Around the country, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and other planning agencies are grappling with facing radically different transportation options in the future.
How can agencies plan wisely when drawing up long range transportation plans? What should they assume about transportation behaviors of how people adopt and adapt (or resist) to new and emerging transportation technologies? TOMNET is striving to provide agencies with the behavioral data that will better inform their plans.
As one of its signature projects, TOMNET researchers are conducting a large-scale four-city survey-based research study to understand the public’s preferences and choices in mobility options and technologies. The survey will collect data about people’s mobility patterns, as well as attitudes towards options such as ride-hailing services and autonomous vehicles. TOMNET consortium members, which include Georgia Tech, University of Washington, and University of South Florida, as well as a UTC, the Data-Supported Transportation Operations and Planning Center (D-STOP), led by the University of Texas at Austin, are collaborating with ASU to collect data from about 5,000 randomly sampled residents in Phoenix, Tampa, Austin, and Atlanta.