About


Mission

The Foundation’s mission is to advance rigorous transportation and land use decision-making for the public good by advocating for and supporting improved travel analysis and facilitating its implementation.

Vision

Become the primary venue through which leading researchers and practitioners seek to develop and implement travel analysis methods and tools that are demonstrably more valuable, credible, transparent, tractable, reproducible, and usable in order to support decision-making that is inclusive and promotes equitable outcomes, shared prosperity, and sustainability.


Goals

The Foundation’s goals are to advance the field through flexible and efficient support, education, guidance, encouragement, and incubation as outlined below in support of the Mission:

Support

Provide robust infrastructure, including financial, administrative, and legal support.

Educate

Educate researchers and practitioners on core competencies and next generation travel analysis skills and travel analysis stakeholders on best practices.

Incubate

Incubate innovative and useful planning methods in preparation for deployment by regions, cities, and neighborhoods.

Guide

Guide research towards useful products and practitioners towards useful implementation.

Encourage

Encourage the use of open data standards, rigorous development practices, interoperability, reproducible research methods, and evaluation of research.

Convene

Convene leading academics and practitioners to guide the Foundation’s efforts.


Principles

The Foundation is guided by the following principles:

Respectful, honest, technical-based interaction;
Collegial and collaborative;
Driven by useful innovation that leverages our unique position;
Acting in support of the public good, specifically inclusion, equitable outcomes, and shared prosperity;
User-friendly packaging and licensing;
Consistently high-quality work products;
Faithful implementation of standards;
Respectful of time and resources;
Diversity of opinions and backgrounds are proactively sought out and welcomed; and,
Lawfulness as mandatory.

Leadership

Zephyr is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the membership and supported by the Founding Stakeholders and a team of Instigators.

The Board will search for an Executive Director in 2018 to oversee the day-to-day operation of the Foundation

Support

A limited number of slots are available to become a Founding Leader or to join the Founder's Circle.

Individuals, public agencies, corporations, and institutions can support Zephyr by:

Membership, general donations and subscriptions support our core programs. Zephyr seeks specific grants to support larger projects.


Origin Story

2015     At the 2015 Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting, a scientist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program gave an inspiring presentation to the TRB Standing Committee on Transportation Demand Forecasting (ADB40). The presentation motivated a lot of thinking about how the travel modeling community could more systematically improve our forecasting efforts.

2016    At the 2016 TRB Annual Meeting, a session entitled From Ad Hoc to Scientific: Moderated Discussion on Improving Travel Forecasting Methods (Session 547) engaged the travel modeling community in a discussion about explicitly improving the empirical basis for improving our methods.

Concurrently, other members of the community had been planning a Foundation to serve as a home for innovation, development, and sharing of urban planning software and methods. These two initiatives merged after the 2016 TRB Annual Meeting following the discussion generated from the session.

At the 2016 TRB Innovations in Travel Modeling Conference a session called Getting Down to the Business of Advancing the Practice of Travel Modeling (session 6C) discussed what the Mission and Vision of a hypothetical foundation focused on improving travel modeling practice could be. Following the session, a working group of TRB Standing Committee ADB40 members and friends put together a version 1.0 mission/vision/goals/principles statement for what we is now The Zephyr Foundation for Advancing Travel Analysis Methods. The working group – "the instigators" – worked to recruit Founding Stakeholders to further develop the organizational mission, vision, and structure and recruit and elect a Board of Directors.

2017     Zephyr held a large workshop at the the 2017 TRB Annual Meeting to explore what eight potential Zephyr projects or programs would look like and held a Shark-Tank competition at the 2017 TRB Planning Applications Conference in Raleigh, NC to select its first project. The Founding Stakeholders elected the first board, which had its first board meeting adopting the Articles of Incorporation and Corporate Bylaws and 2018 Agenda in Chicago in November 2017.

Why a Foundation?

A Foundation offers us the needed flexibility, agility, stability [ of staffing and funding ], and ability to contribute funding from public and private sources on multiple levels.




2018 Programs and Projects


This is a list of the projects and programs that comprise the 2018 Zephyr Agenda.


Workforce Development Program

Program to recruit, educate and keep a travel analysis workforce.

Network Data Standard and Management Tools

Datasets of standardized input and observed data in order to facilitate the testing of and compare the performance of various algorithms, approaches, or parameters.

Tool and Project Badging

Develop a set of badges to award projects and tools that meet various achievements for rigor, reproducibility, etc.

Count and Data Management Tool

Create an online transportation data management tool for travel analysis which tiers from several successful one-off projects that only appeared at single agencies.

Transit and Passenger Network Analysis

Develop and progress a research and open-source application development agenda to support these complicated modes.

Back-office Project Support and Incubation Guidance.

Setting up and maintaining a set of guidelines and resources to share amongst all projects and programs.



Finer Print


Business Plan [ in brief ]

We estimate annual costs during our first five years to be approximately $400,000. Costs include legal assistance, insurance, accounting services, board member travel, and other administrative overhead, as well as salaries and office space for two (2) full-time staff equivalents.

During the start-up phase, consultants will staff the organization and will be directly overseen by board-appointed officers. Our revenue plan seeks annual contributions in the $5,000 to $25,000 range from a variety of governmental entities.




Events + Timeline


2016

TRB Workshop: From Ad-Hoc to Scientific

TRB Innovations in Travel Modeling Conference session in Denver to discuss a possible Foundation

Convened meetings of Founding Stakeholders to discuss, develop, and approve:

  • mission + vision
  • governance documents and board structure
  • membership structure
  • near-term objectives and projects

2017

TRB workshop: From Ad-Hoc to Organized to develop potential project roadmaps.

Elected initial Board of Directors

NSF Workshop: Advancing the Science of Transportation Demand Modeling.

Published Open Code Directory

Workshop at TRB Planning Applications Conference. Selected first project in a Shark Tank!

Applied for funding for first project: General Network Feed Standard and Tools

Filed Articles of Incorporation

First Board Meeting and Strategic Planning Session in Chicago

January 2018

Tuesday Jan 9th 3:45pm: TRB Session reporting on NSF Workshop: Advancing the Science of Transportation Demand Modeling.

Tuesday Jan 9th 8-10pm: Zephyr Reception at Busboys and Poets at 5th and K