Northwestern Events Calendar


NUTC Leon Moses Lecture - Daniel L. McFadden


When: Tuesday, November 12, 2019
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM CT

Where: Lutkin Memorial Hall, 700 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Registration is requested -

Contact: Joan Pinnell   (847) 491-2787

Group: Northwestern University Transportation Center

Category: Academic


Northwestern University Transportation Center presents:


"ATTEND! CONSIDER! DECIDE! What Planners and Machines Must Learn to Predict Travel Behavior"

Daniel McFadden
University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Southern California



For decades, transportation planners have lived in data deserts, vast expanses of information with few milestones or guides for the policy traveler.  A half-century ago, this information came from O-D surveys and cordon counts, painstakingly corrected and simply distilled.  Today, transportation information is vast and immediate, encompassing highway sensors, automated toll systems, and GPS tracking of individuals and vehicles, processed in the cloud by banks of machines with sophisticated capacity for recognizing patterns and analogies.  This wealth of data resources and processing power offers tantalizing possibilities for transportation planning and management.  However, to harness this wealth to predict behavioral response to interventions, human planners and their machine counterparts must be trained to dig below the ecological morphology of the transportation landscape and recognize the delicate trail of causal effects that determine travel behavior.  

The first attempt to develop systematical causal models of individual travel behavior came almost exactly fifty years ago, in an FHA project that Charles River Associates did for the FHA.  The guiding principle was that people make decisions to maximize self-interest, and the determinants of self-interest were stable enough so that experiments and observed choices allowed one to learn about and predict the choices they would make following policy interventions.  These models remain in use today, enhanced by natural experiments and stated choice data, but major developments in behavioral economics and cognitive science give roadmaps for improvement, and innovations in machine learning are changing how they are formulated and used.  This presentation will examine the role of attention, consideration, and the decision-making process in choice behavior, and how it can be quantified and embedded in the training of policy-analysis systems. 



Daniel McFadden is the Presidential Professor of Health Economics at the University of Southern California. He has joint appointments at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy and the Department of Economics at USC Dornsife College.  He is also the E. Morris Cox Professor of Economics and Director of the Econometrics Laboratory, emeritus, at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. McFadden’s research focuses on the fields of econometrics, economic theory and mathematical economics, health economics, transportation economics, and environmental economics.  was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2000, along with James Heckman, for the development of theories and methods for analyzing discrete choice. He is also the recipient of the Frisch Medal from the Econometric Society and the Nemmers Prize in Economics from Northwestern University. 

His extraordinary body of work includes seven books and more than 100 scholarly articles published in numerous journals, including the Journal of the American Statistical Association, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Econometrics, Econometrica, American Economic Review, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Mathematical Economics, Advances in Applied Micro-Economics, and the Review of Economics and Statistics, among many others.

He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1977 and to the National Academy of Sciences in 1981. He has served as president of the Econometric Society, the American Economics Association, and the Western Economics Association International.


The Leon N. Moses Distinguished Lecture in Transportation was named in honor of Professor Emeritus Leon N. Moses for his significant contributions to the field of transportation economics and regional science and for his long and dedicated service to the Northwestern University Transportation Center (NUTC).

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