In , the MEPLAN tutorial was assigned, for additional help with understanding MEPLAN, and Rodier et al. (2002) for a policy analysis completed earlier using this Sacramento MEPLAN model. Johnston lectured on using MEPLAN for policy analysis and its benefits and limitations. The lab session focused on using the GUI for MEPLAN. There was confusion about when to “Reset” the model inputs and parameters back to the Base Case so a set of instructions was produced for that and the GUI modified to include instructions on the opening dialog box regarding this issue. The assignment for this week was to describe MEPLAN and identify which economics concepts it represents and how it does this.
In , the students read Hunt et al. (2001) for an overview of urban models and a recommended U.S. model improvement program. Johnston lectured on the SACOG model improvement program, which features improved travel models and urban models, going to an improved MEPLAN in 2003 and a first PECAS model in late 2004.The lab was supposed to be on the use of all models for policy analysis, with a broad discussion of all of the models and their respective roles in MPO planning. However, the session was spent working with MEPLAN again, as the next midterm assignment was to design and run two or more scenarios and to evaluate them. Students were getting reasonable results for some scenarios and unreasonable results for others, with no apparent pattern to the mistaken results. The students appeared to be using the GUI correctly.
In , the MEPLAN policy analysis papers were graded and the results seemed to be a mixed bag of reasonable and unreasonable outputs. Johnston and others had run the model many times for previously published research, not using the GUI, and