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NTC@Maryland Sponsored Seminar Series: Tom van Vuren

NTC@Maryland Sponsored Seminar Series: Tom van Vuren

The ITS/ITE Seminar was attended by numerous graduate students in the Transportation Engineering Program
The ITS/ITE Seminar was attended by numerous graduate students in the Transportation Engineering Program

On September 10th 2014, as part of the ITS Student Chapter Invited Speaker Series, Tom van Vuren, a visiting professor from the University of Leeds in England and Divisional Director at Mott MacDonald consulting firm, gave a presentation on the importance of integrating land use policies with transportation modeling.

van Vuren discussed the criticality of "people-focused," as opposed to aggregate modeling in order for a city to develop an equitable and sustainable transport plan. He emphasized the importance of model segmentation, in which individuals are categorized based on different socioeconomic attributes like age, income, or gender, as well as the importance of designing survey methods that represent these groups equally. With these modeling tactics, it is possible to create policies that can target particular groups of people in need. He also touched on cultural implications for transportation planning, since the preconceptions of the planner can influence surveying methods.

Another difficulty with surveying is that individuals tend to under-report short or discretionary trips, and van Vuren mentioned a "Big Data" research project taking place in Dhaka Bangladesh that is utilizing mobile phone data to track trips. He emphasized that models should also include non-motorized modes of transportation, such as walking or biking, noting that "sustainable" transport need not be only about public transportation.

Last, he discussed how a city could repurpose its transportation model once built to explore scenarios relevant to evacuation planning, disaster management, and climate change resilience.

van Vuren will present this talk at the World Bank later this week.

September 15, 2014


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