Reflections on the Transport Modelling Network (TMN)
Ten years ago, there was no easy way for transport modellers around Australia to connect with each other. There were local Modelling User Groups but these forums did not provide an opportunity for true thought leadership on issues of national significance. This gap provided the genesis for the birth of the AITPM’s Transport Modelling Network (TMN).
Since its inception in 2013, the TMN has evolved from humble beginnings as a loose sub-group of AITPM members to becoming an integral part of the AITPM. The TMN is dedicated to cultivating and catering for the interests, knowledge and expertise of transport and land use modellers across Australia (and NZ through its alliance with the NZ Modellers User Group (NZMUGS).
The TMN has come a long way since those humble beginnings to today where it is recognised as a major contributor to the success of the AITPM, the National Conference and the associated Online Conference Series. The TMN also hosts regular events in each state aimed at providing continuing professional development for professionals of all experience levels.
The TMN covers all aspects of transport and land use modelling and the opportunity for researchers, engineers, modellers and other practitioners from all sectors, including government, research, software development, data collection and analytics and consulting to interact, share knowledge and promote good practice within the modelling community and wider transport industry.
It also has an ongoing role providing guidance on good practice in Transport Modelling to the industry and government to ensure that decision-makers are always provided with advice that is soundly based, trustworthy and fit-for-purpose.
Underpinned by a strong governance structure and Charter aligned with the AITPM’s Strategic Plan, the TMN has contributed to the success of National Conferences through its hosting of the Transport and Land Use Modelling stream, and its hosting of the Transport Modelling and Knowledge Sharing Workshops (that have featured leading Australia and International keynote speakers and provided a forum for public sector transport planners and modellers from across Australia).
Unlike previous years when the Transport Modelling and Knowledge Sharing Workshops hosted by TMN where relegated as events on the final day of the National Conference, in the 2022 National Conference the two events were amalgamated as the Transport Modelling Workshop covering an extensive range of topics and outstanding speakers and panel sessions resulting in record breaking attendance and interest from the broader AITPM community.
The 2023 National Conference continued the shift with the Transport Modelling Workshop as a lead session thereby providing visibility to a greater AITPM audience and the opportunity to host a wider range of leading thinkers, researchers and practitioners. All events were popular and well attended.
As a result, the events reinforced the contribution of TMN to the AITPM community and transport industry and as an integral part of ensuring the sustainability of AITPM in an increasing contested market.
During the recent pandemic in 2021 and since in 2022 the TMN continued to make a significant contribution to the content of the Online Technical Conference series through the Modelling Stream as well as hosting local events in each State aimed at practitioners and policy advisers who are reliant on the results of models as well as technical events directly tailored towards improving the skills and knowledge of transport and land use modellers as part of their continuous professional development .
Many individuals have been involved in the establishment and ongoing evolution of the TNM including Dave Keenan, Peter Kartisidimas, Richard Isted, Nick Veitch, Steven Piotrowski, Andrew Leedham, Lindsay Oxlad, James Parrott and Simon Kinnear.