Workshops and Book Club Details

During the first day of the conference (June 24, 2014 from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.), a book club, open accessibility workshop, and land use modeling workshop were held. Below are the details of each activity.

Book club

This year’s selected book is In the City of Bikes: The story of the Amsterdam cyclist. The author, Pete Jordan, joined us for this event and led a book club format discussion with participating conference attendees.

Description: City of Bikes book coverAbout the book

When Pete Jordan arrives in Amsterdam as an urban planning student to study how to make America’s cities more bicycle-friendly, he immediately falls in love with the city that already lives life on two wheels. His new bride, Amy Joy, joins Pete, and despite their financial hardships and instability, she eventually finds her own new calling as a bicycle mechanic as Pete researches and discovers the untold history of cycling in Amsterdam.

From its beginnings as an elitist pastime in the 1890s to the street-consuming craze of the 1920s, from the bicycle’s role in a citywide resistance to the Nazi occupation to the White Bikes of the 1960s and the bike fishermen of today, Jordan chronicles the evolution of Amsterdam’s cycling.

Part personal memoir, part history of cycling, part fascinating street-level tour of Amsterdam, In the City of Bikes is the story of a man who loves bikes—in a city that loves bikes.

About the author

Pete Jordan is the author of the memoir Dishwasher: One Man’s Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States. Pete’s work has been featured on public radio’s This American Life and in the New York Times. He lives in Amsterdam.

Land use modeling workshop

The Symposium offered a 2-hour integrated travel-land use modeling (ITLUM) demonstration session on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 24. Developers and active users of UrbanSim, Cube Land (also known as MUSSA), PECAS and/or TRANUS demonstrated their models' applications to actual regions, with extensive traffic-analysis-zone systems. Simulations and forecasts were at the parcel or zone level, in concert with travel network changes, over a 10- to 25-year horizon. The workshop was organized by Prof. Kara Kockelman from University of Texas.

Open-source accessibility

Andrew Byrd from Conveyal and Andrew Owen from the University of Minnesota demonstrated how to use Open Street Map and GTFS data, both available under open licenses, to build transportation networks and generate accessibility measures using open-source software.

Conveyal is a well-known company for its work on the development of OpenTripPlanner. The workshop covered the tools developed by Conveyal, the range of calculations they allow, and how they've been applied in the Minnesota Accessibility Observatory's large-scale access to jobs survey. Then the workshop showed participants how they can apply these tools to other classes of problems and other regions of the world, and discussed future directions for development, such as more efficient handling of time range queries (rather than specific departure/arrival times).