Simulating individual work trips for transit-facilitated accessibility study

Ruihong Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


To measure job accessibility, person-based approaches have the advantage to capture all accessibility components: land use, transportation system, individual’s mobility and travel preference, as well as individual’s space and time constraints. This makes person-based approaches more favorable than traditional aggregated approaches in recent years. However, person-based accessibility measures require detailed individual trip data which are very difficult and expensive to acquire, especially at large scales. In addition, traveling by public transportation is a highly time sensitive activity, which can hardly be handled by traditional accessibility measures. This paper presents an agent-based model for simulating individual work trips in hoping to provide an alternative or supplementary solution to person-based accessibility study. In the model, population is simulated as three levels of agents: census tracts, households, and individual workers. And job opportunities (businesses) are simulated as employer agents. Census tract agents have the ability to generate household and worker agents based on their demographic profiles and a road network. Worker agents are the most active agents that can search jobs and find the best paths for commuting. Employer agents can estimate the number of transit-dependent employees, hire workers, and update vacancies. A case study is conducted in the Milwaukee metropolitan area in Wisconsin. Several person-based accessibility measures are computed based on simulated trips, which disclose low accessibility inner city neighborhoods well covered by a transit network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-102
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Geographic information systems
  • accessibility
  • agent-based modeling
  • simulation
  • transit
  • work trip

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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