Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Transit Route System Log Error from Captain Obvious

Few things are more frustrating in TransCAD than editing Transit Route System (.rts) files. Here's a great error from a TransCAD log file:

“Route ID (369) not greater than previous (376)”

Thanks Captain Obvious!

If you ever run into an issue like this, simply edit the Transit route with the lowed ID number so that it will repopulate with an ID "greater than previous".

Next, delete the change and you should be good to go.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

TransCAD and Adobe

One of the biggest complaints I continue to have about TransCAD is its inability to make ESRI quality maps. For one, the labeling feature is terrible - try placing a regional map and a blow up of an area in one layout. I really don't have time to be dealing with autoscaling either.

But there are two MAJOR issues TransCAD has when it comes to making and distributing top quality maps.

1. No transparency or opacity settings on solid colors. This is such a basic function but no sign of it being added.

2. Compatibility with PDF. Since we can't use transparent colors we are forced to use horrible hash marks and patterns. Apparently this wasn't enough for the geniuses at TransCAD - Those terrible patterns don't show up on PDF's so you end up with a nearly unreadable map with ugly colors.

Come on Caliper - this is kids stuff - get it fixed!

Who is with me?

Friday, February 13, 2009

That little Purple Key

It turns out that the new version of the little purple key that unlocks the program is now a little Black Key. I think I'll leave the "how I know this" out of this post.

Thank God for the kind, understanding folks at Caliper!

Friday, February 6, 2009

5.0 Home Version

Much to my previously cool persona's dismay I went ahead and installed TransCAD at home. I'm actually looking forward to doing a little more exploring. I've tried twice to teach myself to write macros only to discover new error messages I've never seen. Maybe having the extra time at home will be enough to get me over the hump.

It's amazing how simple every task seems when talking to Jim or Paul at Caliper and how what they say never seems to work unless they actually walk you through it! :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Editing Route Systems in TransCAD

Today I was editing both a road and transit network to reflect programmed projects in the Transportation Improvement Program. The road network edits were simple and straightforward, in fact, they didn't even involve any geography editing, just updating some attributes.

The transit route system updates were not nearly as enjoyable! I'm using TransCAD version 5.0 which I've found, in general, to be easier to work with route systems but I ran into some frustrating situations today. While adding an entirely new route and deleting an entire existing route went off without a hitch I ran into a shit ton of errors when I tried to extend a portion of a route from a stop in the middle of the route along a perpendicular road and back. I was finally able to get most of the route altered by realigning nearly half of it. The bitch of it was when I saved the edits, I hadn't deleted the stop on the second pass which, for some reason, changed the pass count field in the stop layer to zero and created the evil .err file.

Then I discover that the stop layer can't be opened with exclusive access so that the attributes can be changed. After 20 more minutes of staring at the screen I figured out that I could use the map editor to manually delete the points in the stop layer.

So, I think I was able to fix the stop problems but then I discovered that the additional part of the route that I'd inserted had this weird loop in it I couldn't get out no matter how I selected the route (shortest path or click segments) so that it.....shit I think I just figured it out! My road network includes local roads for display purposes and when I created the .net file I didn't select out the locals. Fuck! That would have made everything a heck of a lot easier. No wonder I was having so much trouble getting the routes to display where I wanted them.

Eureka! Of course I have tomorrow off work in observance of Veteran's Day, and by the time Wednesday comes around I'll probably have forgotten the problem!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What is TransCAD and why are we here?

TransCAD is a fully integrated travel modeling and GIS software widely used by transportation planners around the world. It is a powerful tool which provides valuable information to decision makers about the transportation system.

It can also be a pain in the ass.

That is to be expected, though, when you combine a complicated proprietary software with extremely large and complex files and spread it across a variety of users ranging from programmers to planners and with vastly different levels of experience.

So why are we here?

For one, we are here to have fun and share stories, vent, and if we get bored, even talk about work (but lets hope not). Secondly, it's important that there is a place where users of vastly different levels of experience can share in a love/hate relationship with our friend, TransCAD. And third, a place to ask questions. When I say ask questions I mean REAL questions, any questions. Those who have been working with travel models and TransCAD for a long time have a tendency to forget what it was like when they were learning and how foreign this stuff can sound.

So feel free to blurt out anything you want at any time. It doesn't matter if you need help changing the colors on a line layer or if you can't figure out why your Vehicle Miles Travled tripled for no reason and you want some help trouble shooting.

We are all here to learn...and then bitch about how it doesn't work!

A bit about me. I have been using TransCAD for about five years. I wouldn't call those five years of advanced practice however as I've wasted more time than I'd like to admit trying to figure out things like transposing and adding matrices or figuring our what REALLY the difference is between Production-Attraction and Origin-Destination.

A couple other facts about me and TransCAD:

I've never built a model but I can appreciate an intuitive interface.

I often pace around the room when I'm waiting to see if a model will run successfully.

I once gave a presentation on the four step modeling process to a statewide group of TransCAD users and didn't include Trip Distribution as a step (It wasn't a joke either, I just didn't know what I was talking about)

I'm good at sounding like an idiot when I talk about TransCAD and modeling cause I only kinda get what I am talking about.

I've found it's as fun to complain about it as it is to learn something new about it, which is why I started this blog.