In Denmark, where gas costs around €1.65/liter ($9 USD/gallon), planners have to make transportation as efficient as possible.
For Kim Bang Salling, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Technical University of Denmark, that means teaching graduate students in his “Risk Analysis and Decision Support” class to question everything when reviewing a transportation project. For example, are planners are being too optimistic about the project’s benefits? Are they underestimating the costs?
“We use @RISK software to create probability distributions based on actual outcomes in a reference class of similar actions,” Dr. Salling says. “The software also allows us to use Monte Carlo simulation to incorporate uncertain elements into our decision-support model.”
Dr. Salling has been using @RISK since 2003 when he was working on his master’s degree in engineering. What’s more, @RISK supports the decision-support tool he created when defending his Ph.D. thesis titled, “Assessment of Transport Projects: Risk Analysis and Decision Support,” in November 2008. “This software is intuitive and easy to apply to transportation research and transportation planning,” he says.
So easy, in fact, it’s being incorporated into an academic project that stretches from Denmark to New Jersey.
“Our department is undertaking a large scale research project in collaboration with Aalborg University (Denmark), Princeton University and Oxford University that investigates uncertainties within transport project evaluation,” Dr. Salling says. “The project seeks to appraise the specific uncertainties within transport demand and transport models in general.”
Funded by the Danish Strategic Research Council, the project runs through mid-2013.