The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG), partnered with the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) and the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) to conduct the Central Coast Origin-Destination Survey with the purpose of gathering information on the travel behavior of people who make regional and inter-regional trips on U.S. 101 in the Central Coast region.
The survey was designed to collect observed travel data to help calibrate SBCAG’s regional travel demand model and to support planning efforts to improve regional transit and rail services. The study focused on five commute markets, bidirectional travel between South San Luis Obispo County and the Santa Maria Valley, bidirectional travel between West Ventura County and South Santa Barbara County, and unidirectional travel (South in the morning, North in the afternoon) between North and South Santa Barbara County.
Four distinct data sources were utilized to develop a broad understanding of the travel patterns of U.S. 101 users, including traffic/vehicle counts, license plate analysis, a mail-based survey of users, and an evaluation of mobile device data.
Some of the key findings of the study reinforce existing planning assumptions, including the chronic peak hour traffic congestion across the Santa Barbara-Ventura County line and the predominance of truck traffic using US 101 over SR 154, but also reveal a relatively low level of travelers that pass through both county lines and a significant awareness gap about some regional transit services.
One of the highlights of conducting the study was to better understand the power and effectiveness of using the emerging technology of mobile device data to help plan regional transit and transportation planning projects and services.