Learning Session - Big Data

Monday, July 17, 2023

4:00 - 5:00 PM ET / 1:00-2:00 PM PT

Recording - Presentation

This session will include a panel of experts who will discuss the Use, Challenges and Value of Big Data for Travel Models. The panelists will present practical ways to handle Big Data, including their experiences verifying the accuracy of these datasets for specific use.

During this Learning Session, panelists were asked to discuss the following topics for the first half of the session, followed by discussion/Q&A.

  • What Big Data set(s) have panelists worked with and what questions were they trying to answer with the dataset?
  • How did panelists verify that the data was accurate enough for its intended purpose? How did they resolve or compensate for any issues?
  • How did panelists verify that under represented groups were represented in the data accurately?
  • How did panelists handle Big Data changes/volatility? (e.g., legislative impacts, mobile phone operating system privacy updates, etc.)


  • Kevin Johnson has 17 years of experience in the transportation planning, data, and forecasting field. He has worked primarily on big data and travel modeling projects, providing data-driven insights supporting transportation decisions. His recent work has focused on helping clients understand their data requirements, the advantages and limitations of diverse mobility data types, and how these sources can be employed to achieve their objectives in a defensible, straightforward, and cost-effective way.
  • Dr. Wang Zhang is the transportation data program manager at the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG). He received his Ph.D. in civil engineering from Virginia Tech. Throughout his 18 years’ tenure at MAG, he focuses on transportation system analysis, providing insightful data analysis and reports to aid in transportation modeling and planning studies, and helping organizations make informed decisions to improve the transportation system.
  • Petya Maneva is a transportation engineer with MAG travel demand modeling team and a GIS professional. She holds a master's degree in Geographic Information Science (GIS) from the University of Redlands, California. Petya is focused on spatial analytics and the data needs of travel demand models. Petya is a member of the oversight board of CTPP (Census Transportation Planning Products).

The session will be moderated by Lisa Zorn, who manages the Forecasting, Modeling & Surveys team within the Planning section at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).