Travel model curriculum

# Summary

Many travel modelers obtained their education through one or more traditional fields of study, but were also able to extend their knowledge through on-the-job experience. Someone interested in pursuing a career in travel modeling and has enough time to plan a curriculum may benefit from this recommendation by the TRB’s Committee on Transportation Demand Forecasting and TRB’s Subcommitee on Statewide Travel Demand Forecasting.

# Courses and Areas of Study

The following topics should be covered in a college program through a master’s or doctoral level curriculum for anyone wanting to fully participate in a travel modeling group immediately upon graduation from college.

The curriculum could potentially be housed in any of the following program areas

  • Civil engineering
  • Dual engineering/planning
  • Applied computer science
  • Applied mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Operations research/management science/logistics
  • Geography
  • Interdisciplinary degree program

High School

  • Core:

πŸ˜— Mathematics through trigonometry

πŸ˜— English, 4 years (in the US)

πŸ˜— Science, 4 years (including physics and chemistry)

πŸ˜— Elementary computer programming

  • Elective:

πŸ˜— Additional topics in computer programming, including OOP


  • Core:

πŸ˜— Calculus through differential equations

πŸ˜— Linear algebra (1 semester)

πŸ˜— English composition (in the US)

πŸ˜— Basic and advanced statistics (2 semesters, calculus-based)

πŸ˜— Computer programming, any contemporary language beyond high school-level topics (1 semester)

πŸ˜— Elementary economic theory (a micro/macro sequence, 2 semesters)

πŸ˜— Communications (technical writing and presentations)

πŸ˜— Other program-specific requirements


  • Electives:

πŸ˜— Additional coursework in computer programming, including object-oriented programming and data structures (1 or 2 semesters)

πŸ˜— Database management

πŸ˜— Introduction to transportation planning

πŸ˜— Traffic engineering

πŸ˜— Numerical analysis

πŸ˜— Introduction to operations research

πŸ˜— Probability theory or a course in finite mathematics that includes probability topics

πŸ˜— Urban geography

πŸ˜— Introduction to econometrics

πŸ˜— Environmental impact assessment

πŸ˜— Introduction to geographic information systems (GIS)


  • Core:

πŸ˜— Linear and nonlinear optimization theory

πŸ˜— Intermediate geographic information systems

πŸ˜— Elements of travel forecasting

πŸ˜— Urban/regional development theory or introduction to regional science

πŸ˜— Statistical computing

πŸ˜— Transportation network models and algorithms

πŸ˜— Other program-specific requirements

  • Electives:

πŸ˜— Travel forecasting project(s) (includes data sources and software)

πŸ˜— Traffic systems planning and operations

πŸ˜— Logistics and supply chain management

πŸ˜— More methods of statistical inference (including econometrics)

πŸ˜— Advanced network models and algorithms

πŸ˜— Artificial intelligence or machine learning

πŸ˜— Project management

πŸ˜— Methods of survey research

πŸ˜— Human behavior

πŸ˜— Choice theory

πŸ˜— Advanced geographic information systems

πŸ˜— Traffic flow theory

πŸ˜— Geographical statistics

πŸ˜— Data mining

πŸ˜— Additional topics in database management

πŸ˜— Thesis or dissertation

πŸ˜— Additional topics (may be part of another course):

πŸ˜— Benefit-cost analysis

πŸ˜— Transportation policy

πŸ˜— Practical aspects of travel model building, including calibration and software tools