One of the skills generally required to get a proper job as a transport planner is experience in using one or more of the commercial transportation planning software packages. For example a typical transport modeller

” would be expected to have experience in multi-model studies & modelling software such as TRIPS, EMME2, QVIEW, SATURN, PEDROUTE or Microsimulation” (http://www.hsmp-services.co.uk/engineering_sector.html)

The only problem is, just about the only way to get the experience in these packages is to have a job that uses them. Your classic catch-22. There is a small amount training available for some of the packages involve flying to the United States or Canada for a 2 day workshop. This is something I can’t really afford. None of the Unis or TAFEs in Australia teaches them.

So I am trying D.I.Y.

My current project is to teach myself something about the Cube Voyager transportation planning software produced by Citilabs.

I am using the Inner Peel region of the Perth area (Mandurah – Amarillo – Pinjarra) as a project site and bit-by-bit building up a model using the scraps of information I have available.

I have a demo copy of the software that comes with a basic tutorial. Apart from the help file, sample scripts and datafiles, I don’t have any other resources. It doesn’t help that one of the key steps in the tutorial doesn’t actually work. If anyone knows of where I might find other resources – manual, course notes, CBT package – I would be very grateful.

To start, I jumped in at the deep end and put together a 35 zone region featuring basic highway and rapid transit networks. Now I have gone back to the beginning and am trying to synthesize a potential 2026 land use breakdown for each of the zones. This allows me to do the first stage of the model: trip generation. There are then 3 more stages to go.

Fun, in a warped sort of way.

Footnote: yes I know there are lots of objections to classic 4-stage transport modelling. I’m setting that aside for the sake of this exercise – and my immediate career goals!