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OCR for page 185
174 I N N O VAT I O N S I N T R AV E L D E M A N D M O D E L I N G , V O L U M E 2 decennial census in 1990. In 2002, the model's data were USER TRAINING already 10 years old and needed to be updated using new socioeconomic data based on the 2000 census. Also, One of the daunting tasks facing NYMTC's modeling adjustments needed to reflect the impact of September staff is to provide training to stakeholders who are inter- 11, 2001, on employment and labor force data. ested in various NYBPM applications. The stakeholders, Because of insufficient funding, the Regional Travel based on the levels of technical knowledge and special Household Interview Survey, which was conducted in needs for their applications, require different levels of 1997 and 1998, did not include the survey of establish- training, and NYMTC has developed training programs ments as travel generator or attraction points, so tourist to meet those needs. One-day training is provided to the trips were ignored. decision makers; 3- to 5-day training has been developed for individuals who have some modeling background; and a one-to-one training spanning several weeks is Modeling Issues being provided to staff of member agencies that need to run the model for specific project analyses. Needs for different level of details of modeling doc- umentation not addressed properly. Gap between availability of proper documentation STAFF RESOURCES and completion of the models. Lack of full integration of transit and highway Staffing has been a key issue in NYMTC's model imple- networks. mentation process. Several reasons that attributed to this Lack of integration of land use model and travel issue are identified below. demand model in the NYBPM system. Long processing time. Lack of Trained and Experienced Modeling Staff Modeling Environment There is an inherent shortage of experienced modelers in this country. NYMTC staff, with limited experience at Diversity of the large region: NYBPM is the first the beginning of the process, needs to work with the regional model of its geographic and functional scope stakeholders and the consultants in developing and ever implemented successfully in such a large metropoli- implementing the complex modeling system. At the same tan region. The New York metropolitan area is unique time, NYMTC staff needs to learn all the aspects of because of its complex transportation system, diverse model development, including data collection, model population and area type, and its size in both population methodology, model estimation, calibration and valida- and area. This diversity adds to the complexity of travel tion, and applications, including project coding, model analysis. output analysis, and quality control. Software issue: It has been a challenge to address the compatibility issues of various NYBPM software ver- sions with various versions of TransCAD as NYBPM's High Turnover Rate platform. TransCAD is used to manage, edit, and mod- ify the NYBPM transportation highway and transit net- NYMTC also faces the problem of retaining qualified work databases, and for path building and the individuals because of organizational constraints. Because development of "skim-tree" matrices of travel times and NYMTC is hosted by New York State Department of costs used in the choice models. NYMTC faced some Transportation (NYSDOT)--that is, NYMTC is not a compatibility issues because different member agencies separate legal entity--it must abide by NYSDOT's rules used different versions of TransCAD. Also, compatibility for promotional opportunities. Promotions in NYSDOT among other software packages used with NYBPM was are based on examinations that are not closely related to a problem. the modeling work, which puts the modelers at a disad- Hardware issue: The application of the NYBPM vantage for career advancement within the organization. model requires an extensive amount of computational resources, as well as careful management of a large num- ber of computer files. Running NYBPM requires a set of Hiring Constraints special hardware specifications, including dual proces- sors, which could provide an efficient computing appli- Hiring in NYMTC is an ongoing struggle. NYMTC's cation system for NYBPM. modeling group has lost several staff members over the