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E D U C AT I O N A N D O U T R E A C H 43 is sometimes used with consultants providing on-site operate the models, tools, and techniques. Training is crit- assistance in the development and use of new travel ical to ensure that this problem does not happen. demand models. The mentoring approach appears to be used less today than it was in the past. Medicine and other fields use internships and fellowships as part of the TRAFFIC FORECASTING IN A VISIONING training process. These methods may not work well with WORKSHOP SETTING travel forecasting, because it would be difficult to find universities, agencies, or consulting firms where an indi- Donald Hubbard vidual could be exposed to all the skill sets noted previ- ously. Contract training is another possible approach. Donald Hubbard discussed the use of travel forecasting Contract training involves one or two experts providing methods in public workshops. He described the possible on-site training at an agency or consulting firm for a few advantages of this approach and summarized two vision- weeks. The Oregon Department of Transportation has ing workshops in California that used this technique. A used this approach. paper on this topic is provided in Volume 2.2 The fol- The executive Masters of Business Administration lowing points were covered in his presentation. (MBA) model may provide the best approach. Many of the executive MBA programs use distance-based learn- The basic premise with using travel models in pub- ing techniques. Using this approach, most of the work is lic workshops is that a good travel forecasting model is done by students remotely, with participants meeting one that leads to good decisions. Good decisions may once a month on campus for 4 or 5 days. The on-campus come from complex models, as well as from simple mod- sessions, which are typically scheduled for Thursday els that provide results quicker. Travel models are typi- through Sunday, provide extensive interaction with fac- cally used in a private, unhurried setting. Modelers ulty and other students. This approach could be used typically work on computers in their own office. This with travel modeling. There are only a few universities environment provides ample time to analyze and scruti- that have the range of expertise needed to address all of nize the inputs and outputs, make adjustments, and the topics noted previously, however. This model may rerun the models as needed. Travel models provide a rich also not be feasible without a significant investment of assortment of outputs. resources to develop and maintain the program. Sup- Using travel models in a public workshop provides a porting the tuition and travel for public-sector partici- much different work environment. Using traffic forecast- pants, who would be the major target group, may also ing models in a workshop setting may be considered for a be a significant issue. A source of funding for this type of number of reasons. Visioning workshops are an effective program would be necessary. The program would also technique to help create a consensus on a project or pro- have to establish creditability with public-sector man- gram. Workshops are also a democratic and legitimate agers, because they would need to authorize agency staff method to obtain public involvement in public decisions. to attend and to be absent from work. These issues may The impact of land use and development on the limit the viability of this approach. transportation system is not always considered in the Training and staff development in travel forecast- decision-making process. Visioning workshops are fre- ing appear to be low priorities at some agencies. Staffs quently used with land use planning. Decisions in these do not always see the need for training, and those agen- settings have a major impact on the transportation sys- cies that do support training often do not have funding tem. Traffic forecasters need to participate in these work- available for staff development. It is difficult to advance shops so that a consensus forms around a workable plan, the state of the practice without additional training and rather than a plan that does not work from a trans- staff development. Staff at MPOs and other agencies portation standpoint. At least two negative consequences must have the skills to use the new models and tech- may result if a consensus is reached around an unwork- niques or the state of the practice will not change. able plan. First, the public participating in the workshop Many speakers at this conference have suggested may get angry and may feel they have been betrayed if an that the four-step model does not address the questions agency cannot implement the plan. Second, the public being asked by policy makers and other groups related to agency may be forced into a position of trying to imple- economic competitiveness, market accessibility, sustain- ment an unworkable plan. ability, and equitability. If modelers cannot answer these The only way to ensure that an unworkable con- and other related questions, they will not be able to con- sensus does not emerge from a visioning workshop is to tribute constructively to the public policy debate on criti- have modelers participating in the session and to have cal transportation issues. It would be a tragedy if advanced models of all types are available, but are not used because 2 See Hubbard, D. Traffic Forecasting in a Visioning Workshop of lack of enough individuals with the skills needed to Setting. Volume 2, pp. 124126.