Last summer, I submitted my first paper to the Transportation Research Board (TRB) conference (ultimately accepted, and presented in January 2009). They have recently started accepting papers in PDF form instead of requiring a Word file—and this meant that I could write my paper in LaTeX, my preferred document processing system.
However, TRB doesn’t provide any LaTeX templates, so I took a shot at rolling my own based on the TRB Style Manual. It’s very primitive in its present state, but it’ll handle the page layout, headings, captions, fonts, and bibliography style.
Unfortunately, they still require a Word document if you plan to publish in their journal, Transportation Research Record. I’m submitting my paper to a different journal for publication, and that journal accepts LaTeX submissions. But if the ultimate destination for your paper doesn’t accept LaTeX or PDFs, take care.
For the record, a little discussion of my adventures in creating all of this. Most of it is fairly straightforward stuff—find the right packages to adjust margins, heading styles, fonts and so on. (Largely, this makes the document more ugly. The TRB journal format is quite unattractive, Word-like and dense, if you ask me.)
The one tricky part was the bibliography style. The recommended TRB citation style is different from any of the built-in LaTeX and BibTeX styles, and I wanted to replicate it correctly. Thankfully, I found the excellent custom-bib program (a.k.a. makebst), which walks through a series of questions to produce a tailor-made Bibliography Style file (bst). I still had to make a few final edits to the resulting bst file (to adjust the volume/number citation style, and technical reports) but thankfully didn’t need to learn much about the cryptic and obscure language they use.
At any rate, it was a surprisingly painless procedure, requiring under a day to get everything working. Now hopefully some other transportation researchers will find this useful and reuse the template.