Issues in Transportation Planning #1: What I Want to Say

My goal is to make a film about transportation planning. There are many things I want to accomplish with the film. This is the first of a series of blog posts about what I want to say about transportation planning in the film.

I worked for many years in transportation planning, mostly in modelling and forecasting. It shouldn’t be any surprise that this is the area where I have the strongest opinions. It is also, I hope, the area where I most know what I am talking about.

In an earlier on-line article I talked about the problems between transportation modellers and transportation planners. See Transportation: Planners Versus Modellers. A good story has some conflict and I see a lot of conflict in this relationship.

Another on-line article I wrote, A Review of “Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail – and Why We Believe Them Anyway”, is not so directly related to transportation planning, but does talk about some of the limitations of models and forecasts. I want to explore this issue in more detail, in large part because I have a strong belief that even flawed models can be valuable if used correctly.

I looked at the political side of transportation in my blog post Transportation Infrastructure as Status Symbol. Many times I’ve heard people complain about political interference. My thought is that one person’s “political interference” is another person’s “democracy in action.” The relationship between the technical sphere of transportation planning and the political sphere can be very complicated.

In preparation for writing my film, I started to write a series of short stories. So far I have only finished and posted one, The Glencoe Project: A Transportation Planning Adventure Story. I thought it was a good start, although I do realize that the villain was a bit over the top.

I’ve done outlines for other stories, but have only started on one other, The Gladstone Barrier, which has some of the same characters as The Glencoe Project, but they work in a traffic engineering office. This story is a prequel to The Glencoe Project. I have a first draft of the story and hope it will be ready to post in the next couple of weeks. I’ll post updates on this project on my blog. A list of related posts can be found at

I would like to get feedback from people. I want to ensure that people who work in transportation planning will feel that my work is a realistic portrayal of the field. I also want to find out what aspects of transportation planning are of interest to people who are not transportation planners.


This post is a part of a series. The other posts are:

Issues in Transportation Planning #2: The Limitations of Models

Issues in Transportation Planning #3: Political Interference

Issues in Transportation Planning #4: It’s All Bad News

Issues in Transportation Planning #5: The Public and the Media

Issues in Transportation Planning #6: The Stick and The Map

I have several other posts that are closely related:

Transportation Planning Movies and Stories

Transportation Infrastructure as Status Symbol

Transportation Planning Humour

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