SMART’s Distinguished speakers
Application of Soft Systems Methodology in Transportation
P.S. SrirajSenior Associate and Research Assistant
ProfessorUrban Transportation Center
University of Illinois at Chicago
November 17, 2006
SMART Presentation Summary
This presentation introduced the concept of Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) and its role in transportation planning. Developed by P. Checkland in the 1970’s, SSM is a qualitative approach to intervene in complex problem situations. It is a holistic and systemic approach that has been used to understand problems in the transportation context, and in human activity systems. SSM is used to make comparisons between the real world and the systems world with the help of root definitions and conceptual models. This method has found a niche in helping to structure “messy problem situations” that have numerous objectives and stakeholders.
Apart from SSM, this presentation also highlighted Robustness Analysis, another methodology used to minimize uncertainty in sequential decision-making. The presentation concluded with a look at some of the projects that I have been involved in over the past few years and their relevance for the proposed collaboration between University of Michigan and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Dr. P. S. Sriraj is a Research Assistant Professor at the Urban Transportation Center (UTC) at University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Sriraj earned a Masters degree in Physics from the Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani, India, and a Masters degree and Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. Dr. Sriraj’s expertise includes the spatio-temporal systems analysis and development of decision-support systems applied to transportation issues, integrating aspects of environmental justice, welfare-to-work, socio-economic impacts of transportation solutions, alternative modes of transportation, asset management, and participatory processes. He has worked on research projects including traffic flow simulation, land-use modeling and pedestrian analysis of corridors in urban centers, as well as public transportation systems and their economic impact.