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Challenges in Travel Model Software Development

Travel model development presents a unique set of challenges in software development, including:

  • the need to interface with other software like land use models, dynamic traffic assignment, air quality models, and simulation
  • reading and writing large matrix datasets
  • teams including members throughout government, consulting, and academia, located all over the world
  • the need to recode estimation variables into application code, often between two languages
  • various programming skills levels of developers and users
  • statistical models that cannot generally be understood without training by a generic software developer
  • run times must be fast to satisfy customer needs
  • results must be replicable and stable, even while involving random number generation

All these challenges reinforce the need for the field to adopt software development best practices.

Best Practices in Travel Model Software Development

Using source control

Code Reviews

Write programs for people, not computers

Automate Repetitive Tasks

Make Incremental Changes

Writing unit tests

Pair programming

optimizing software after it works

don’t repeat yourself in code

Please see: Best Practices for Scientific Computing for more information.