Increased usability of urban and land use models. The role of knowledge based systems in facilitating land use forecasting to planning agencies

Georgia Pozoukidou, University of Pennsylvania


Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) are now responsible for transportation and land use planning decisions and are required to assess the impact of their transportation policies on land use development. Hence, these agencies are mandated to use sophisticated information management tools and land use modeling methods. Existing planning methods have proved to be extremely complex for use by MPOs' untrained staff, which results in the inability of planning agencies to systematically assess the implications of their planning decisions. It has been proposed that Knowledge Based Systems (KBS) can be used as a tool to improve planning practice by allowing untrained agency personnel to make effective use of complex planning methods. In this research, we explore the role of KBS in assisting agency staff who lack modeling experience to make effective use of a sophisticated land use model. The hypothesis is that KBS can help us increase the usability of urban models by developing more robust user interfaces; increased usability will, in turn, increase their applicability in planning practice. The Transportation Economic and Land Use Model (TELUM) is used to demonstrate how KBS can refine existing models' user interface. To test the hypothesis an evaluation of TELUM is performed. There were two distinct evaluation perspectives: a structural and functional perspective and an applicability in planning practice perspective. The functional and structural evaluation of TELUM provided us with useful information regarding the underline KBS technology and how it can assist us in developing urban modeling tools with increased usability. The evaluation of the applicability of TELUM in planning practice provided us with information about the factors that could act as bottlenecks in its implementations. The research concluded that under certain conditions KBS could be used as a method to create a buffer between the complexity of a land use modeling system and the inexperienced user. They could also be used as a technique to open the black-box of land use models and make them understandable and accessible to the less knowledgeable planning staff, which can result to increased applicability of these tools in planning practice.

Subject Area

Urban planning|Area planning & development

Recommended Citation

Pozoukidou, Georgia, "Increased usability of urban and land use models. The role of knowledge based systems in facilitating land use forecasting to planning agencies" (2005). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3179791.