On activity-based network design problems

Jee Eun Kang, Joseph Y.J. Chow, Will W. Recker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines network design where OD demand is not known a priori, but is the subject of responses in household or user itinerary choices to infrastructure improvements. Using simple examples, we show that falsely assuming that household itineraries are not elastic can result in a lack in understanding of certain phenomena; e.g., increasing traffic even without increasing economic activity due to relaxing of space-time prism constraints, or worsening of utility despite infrastructure investments in cases where household objectives may conflict. An activity-based network design problem is proposed using the location routing problem (LRP) as inspiration. The bilevel formulation includes an upper level network design and shortest path problem while the lower level includes a set of disaggregate household itinerary optimization problems, posed as household activity pattern problem (HAPP) (or in the case with location choice, as generalized HAPP) models. As a bilevel problem with an NP-hard lower level problem, there is no algorithm for solving the model exactly. Simple numerical examples show optimality gaps of as much as 5% for a decomposition heuristic algorithm derived from the LRP. A large numerical case study based on Southern California data and setting suggest that even if infrastructure investments do not result in major changes in link investment decisions compared to a conventional model, the results provide much higher resolution temporal OD information to a decision maker. Whereas a conventional model would output the best set of links to invest given an assumed OD matrix, the proposed model can output the same best set of links, the same daily OD matrix, and a detailed temporal distribution of activity participation and travel from which changes in peak period OD patterns can be observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-418
Number of pages21
JournalTransportation Research Part B: Methodological
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Activity based model
  • Bi-level problem
  • HAPP
  • Location routing problem
  • Network design
  • Pickup and delivery problem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation


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