Exceptional Technical Achievement Award

The 2023 Exceptional Technical Achievement Award was presented on January 10, 2023

Award Description

The Exceptional Technical Achievement Award shall be given in recognition of a project that has a potential for a positive impact on the transportation and/or land use decision-making field that meets the majority of the following criteria.

  • Has been implemented, adopted or applied in practice at least once
  • Whose methodology, formula, design, etc. are freely accessible to the public
  • Promotes multilateral collaboration; and
  • Advances the travel analysis field for the public good.

Nominees are considered by a three-person award committee and forwarded to the Zephyr Board for approval. Awards are made at the TRB Annual Meeting.

2023 Awardee

Congratulations to the winner of the 2023 Exceptional Technical Achievement Award: Travel Model Improvement Program Exploratory Modeling and Analysis Tool (TMIP-EMAT)

If the pandemic has a silver lining, it’s that most people now understand what “uncertainty” really means in forecasting. The exploratory modeling ethos underpinning TMIP-EMAT is increasingly recognized as an important part of transportation planning. TMIP-EMAT was developed to help agencies manage uncertainties by illuminating interactions between transportation supply and demand on the urban surface transportation system through exploratory modeling and simulation; provide insights of potential, possible, plausible, probable, or preferred futures; and support robust regional transportation planning decision-making incorporating principles of risk management. The methods introduced and applied using TMIP-EMAT extend and enhance the analytical capabilities of travel models, and numerous agencies have adopted these tools in whole or in part. Most notably, Vancouver’s TransLink has integrated exploratory modeling at a fundamental level into their planning process using this tool. Other users of TMIP-EMAT for transportation planning and modeling efforts include, but are not limited to, ORDOT, TxDOT, RTC, RTD.

The committee selected this project because we think it addresses the often-ignored problem around uncertainty and sensitivity in travel demand modeling. The project is well documented online via Github and Read the Docs, and it has webinars and summary reports available on FHWA and TMIP websites.

The 2023 Exceptional Technical Achievement Award Committee was:

  • Josie Kressner, Transport Foundry, now Motionworks
  • Matthew Bhagat-Conway, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Maren Outwater, Blue Door Strategy and Research

Board Facilitator: Lisa Zorn Presenter at the 2023 TRB Annual Meeting Reception: Matt Bhagat-Conway

Project Team

  • Sarah Sun, TMIP Outreach Manager, Federal Highway Administration, FHWA Task Manager
  • Martin Milkovits*, Director of Modeling and Analytics, Central Transportation Planning Staff, Consultant Team Project Manager
  • Thomas Rossi*, Principal, Cambridge Systematics, Inc., Consultant Team Project Manager
  • Jeffrey Newman, Senior Associate, Cambridge Systematics, Inc., Technical Lead
  • Rachel Copperman*, Principal, Cambridge Systematics, Inc., Key Technical Staff
  • Jason Lemp, Principal, Cambridge Systematics, Inc., Key Technical Staff

Team members with an * received the award on behalf of the project team.

Award Recipients

Note: In 2023, the award updated/clarified to focus on a project.

  • SACOG Technical Team, 2020
  • VisonEval Team, 2021
  • Peter Vovsha, 2022