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.


sara said...


I have a question. I need to make a presentation about the ability of TransCAD for my company to convince them to buy the license, and i was wondering if you have any example. Thanks.



mass_33 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mass_33 said...

I was wondering where did you get your version of transcad 5.0?