VisionEval: A Modeling System for Building Strategic Planning Models


Date: April 7, 2016

Description: This is the third of three webinars on the GreenSTEP and RSPM strategic planning models. GreenSTEP is an open-source model that was developed at the Oregon Department of Transportation to enable state planners and policy makers to analyze the effects of alternative strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector. The model was designed to address the many factors that affect travel and travel-related greenhouse gas emissions, and yet run relatively quickly so that analysts can run hundreds or thousands of scenarios in order to explore the decision space and test the robustness of policies to different conditions. The RSPM (Regional Strategic Planning Model) was developed from GreenSTEP to model metropolitan areas. These models operate in the middle ground between advanced travel demand models and simpler sketch planning tools. As with advanced activity-based models, GreenSTEP and RSPM model travel behavior using simulated households, but do so by modeling household travel as an aggregate quantity (i.e. annual vehicle miles traveled) rather than as daily tours. On the other hand, these models address a number of factors that are not typically considered by advanced travel demand models such as vehicle powertrains, fuel types, carsharing, and household travel budgets.

This webinar will focus on the new VisionEval modeling system that the GreenSTEP model and related models will be ported into. The VisionEval model system and supporting software framework was developed to make the GreenSTEP family of models more modular so that 'plug-and-play' modules can be shared between models and so that model developers can more easily collaborate in the development of strategic planning models. This webinar will explain the thinking behind the VisionEval modeling system and will review major components of the modeling system. Topics include:

  • The reasons for creating VisionEval;
  • Model system objectives;
  • Overview of the model system architecture;
  • Key principles that enable 'plug-and-play' operation;
  • Module structure and the packaging of modules;
  • What happens behind the scenes when a model runs;
  • How to download and use the code;and
  • Next steps.

Presenter: Brian Gregor has over 35 years of experience in transportation and land use modeling, analysis, and planning. He is a registered professional traffic engineer in Oregon and has a master's degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Oregon. He has developed several innovative models, including the Greenhouse gas Strategic Transportation Energy Planning (GreenSTEP) model and the Land Use Scenario DevelopeR (LUSDR). He now operates his own consulting firm, Oregon Systems Analytics, which specializes in the development of models to support strategic planning to address transportation, land use, and related environmental issues.