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Center for Transportation Studies Seminar: Risk and Uncertainty: All Models Are Wrong But Some Are Useful
Friday, May 11, 2012 - 12:00pm to Friday, May 11, 2012 - 1:00pm

Center for Transportation Studies Seminar: Risk and Uncertainty: All Models Are Wrong But Some Are Useful

Friday, May 11, 2012, Noon to 1pm
PSU, Urban Center (SW 6th and Mill), Room 204
Presented by Rick Donnelly; free and open to the public

Risk and UncertaintyModels are used for many different purposes. Some seek to impart understanding of the system under study, while others seeks to understand dynamics. Most of the models considered in this course are also used for forecasting likely future levels of demand and its impact upon the built and natural environment. Unlike models of purely physical systems these models attempt to capture the interactions between people and institutions. Social systems are considerably more complex and chaotic. They are shaped by disruptive technologies, changing markets, economic cycles, and cultural influences that a difficult to predict, much less their subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) interaction effects. Uncertainty creeps into forecasting as a result, creating risk that a policy or investment may have unintended consequences, under-perform, or be short-lived. Transportation and land use modelers have typically only weakly accommodated such realities in their forecasts. Policy-makers and investors are increasingly demanding a more explicit accounting of risk and uncertainty in forecasting. This discussion will focus on how this will affect the practice of modeling in the future.