Jason Hawkins discusses regional transportation models

Speaker points to slide
Jason Hawkins seminar (Photo: T. Romancyshyn)

Jason Hawkins talked about his recent work in the area of Fort McMurray, Alberta, at the UT-ITE Seminar on Friday, September 29th.

In his presentation, “An Atypical RTM – Development of the RM of Wood Buffalo Regional Travel Model,” he discussed the challenges of developing a regional transportation model (RTM) for the region encapsulating Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Travel in the region differs from most other regions, in the sense that it is not focused on suburb-to-downtown travel, in large part due to the oil sands plants. Some features of the model include the use of 11 time periods, and a mixture of sub-model types such as personal vehicle, commercial vehicle, and airport trip model. The model was used to evaluate future scenarios, including a 2041 scenario which found that a proposed west bypass around Fort McMurray would not be beneficial.

The regional model will be integrated into a provincial model.

Speaker at podium
Jason Hawkins, UT-ITE Seminar (photo: T. Romancyshyn)

Jason kindly shares a PDF of his presentation here.


Regional transportation models (RTMs) are a common planning tool in most major North American cities.

This presentation outlines the development of such a model for an atypical region – the Rural Municipality (RM) of Wood Buffalo in Alberta. This is a dynamic region characterized by heavy oil extraction and transient populations residing in work camps. It presented unique design challenges in terms of accurately representing travel patterns for large populations of shift workers, with travel mode choice being largely determined by private firms rather than individual preference and government policy.

The challenges in applying tour-based models developed for urban contexts to such a region are reviewed.

Short Biography

Jason Hawkins is a first year PhD student supervised by Professor Khandker Nurul Habib in Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto. He completed his MSc at the University of Calgary in Civil Engineering in 2016. He completed a BSc in Civil Engineering and Energy & Environment Policy at the University of Calgary in 2014. Jason also has four years’ experience in transportation engineering and planning with TransLink, Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure, and most recently HBA Specto Inc.

This seminar was presented by the University of Toronto Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Student Chapter.