Coming Together to Advance the Science of Transportation Demand Modeling

Nobel laureate Dan McFadden talks with ITS students (left to right) Mustapha Harb, Siyu Chen, Feras El Zarwi, Timothy Brathwaite, and Maddie Shaheen.

Institute of Transportation Studies faculty and students were recently invited to participate in a National Science Foundation workshop Advancing The Science Of Transportation Demand Modeling April 20-21, 2017 at UC Berkeley.

Institute of Transportation Studies faculty and students were recently invited to participate in a National Science Foundation workshop “Advancing the Science of Transportation Demand Modeling,” April 20-21, 2017 at UC Berkeley. 

The workshop examined the challenge of fundamentally rethinking travel forecasting. National and international faculty and researchers at leading transportation research universities and organizations came together to focus on travel demand models used for transportation planning, with an emphasis on academia and research.

“We really had a productive two days to dig into travel forecasting and think about the next generation of models,” says workshop organizer, Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Joan Walker. “The brain power in the room was exciting to see and a great experience for the students who helped out.”

Berkeley faculty included Alexei Pozdnukhov, Daniel Chatman, Nobel laureate Daniel McFadden, Joan Walker, and Paul Waddell and students Feras El Zarwi, Maddie Sheehan, Mustapha Harb, Siyu Chen, and Timothy Brathwaite.

On the first day, participants brainstormed ideas to move the field forward, examining questions like what are the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to travel demand modeling?, How can we make clear statements about causality in travel demand models?, and How should travel demand models be tested, compared, and validated?

As a result, participants began drafting the outline for a white paper that proposes actions to undertake for the next generation of travel demand models to be subject to rigorous, scientific testing, effectively integrate researchers and ideas from different disciplines, be germane to the looming transformation in transport (clean, connected, autonomous), and be useful.