Special seminar series opens with practical advice on transportation modeling

Rick Donnelly of Parsons Brinckerhoff opens the OTREC spring transportation seminar series. The eight-seminar series focuses on transportation modeling.

Transportation models keep growing more sophisticated. But complicated isn’t necessarily better, Rick Donnelly said during the inaugural seminar in OTREC’s spring 2012 transportation seminar series April 6.

“Better is contextual,” Donnelly said.

Donnelly, who leads the modeling and simulation practice at engineering consultancy Parsons Brinckerhoff, opened the spring seminar series with an introduction to models. Seven more free seminars follow in the series, produced in partnership with the Oregon Modeling Collaborative.

Donnelly detailed questions that model builders and users should ask and offered his thoughts on building more useful and informative models. Click here for a link to the archived presentation.

Although transportation models consider increasingly more information, simpler models can often get the job done with a smaller investment of time and money, Donnelly said. Sometimes the simplest approach actually produces the best results.

“’Better’ is only relevant in the context of what the model is going to be used for,” he said.

The modeling series continues Friday, April 13 with another seminar geared toward non-modelers. The seminar, by Ben Stabler, also of Parsons Brinckerhoff, builds on Donnelly’s opening installment.

Stabler will discuss two approaches to travel modeling and give examples of each approach. Click here for more details on Stabler’s talk and a link to the live Webcast.

All seminars in the series are free and run from noon to 1 p.m. Fridays at Portland State University’s Urban Center, Southwest Sixth Avenue and Mill Street, Room 204. Each seminar is Webcast live and archived after the fact.

More information on the series, including links to live and archived presentations, is at https://trec.pdx.edu/events/archive.

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