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Mid-America Transportation Center

NDOR Development of a State of the Art Traffic Micro-Simulation Model for Nebraska

Final Report
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Researchers

  • Principal Investigator: Laurence Rilett (lrilett2@unl.edu 402-472-1992)
  • Project Status
    Complete
    Sponsors & Partners
  • Nebraska Department of Roads
  • About this Project
    Brief Project Description & Background
    The use of traffic micro-simulation models in traffic operations, transportation design, and transportation planning has become widespread across the United States because of: 1) rapidly increasing computer power which is required for complex micro-simulations, 2) the development of sophisticated traffic micro-simulation tools, and 3) the need by transportation engineers to solve complex problems which do not lend themselves to traditional analysis techniques. Because of the wide variety of end-users, traffic micro-simulation models are often built and calibrated for specific applications. They are rarely updated as new information (such as ITS data) becomes available and are often developed in isolation - consequently their use for a wide-range of applications can often be limited.
    Research Objective
    This research project will develop a state of the art micro-simulation model for the Nebraska State Highway System which can be used by NDOR designers, planners and traffic engineers. Because the ability to accurately and efficiently model traffic flow characteristics, drivers\' behavior, and traffic control operations is critical for obtaining realistic micro-simulation results, the model will be calibrated to Nebraska conditions. In addition, it will be designed so that a wide range of applications can be analyzed. A section of Interstate 80 between Lincoln and Omaha will be used as a test bed. Generic databases of both supply (i.e. link characteristics, traffic control devices, lane widths, etc.) and demand (origin - destination movements by vehicle type) will be developed.
    Potential Benefits
    The benefits of this research are threefold. 1) A general, Nebraska based micro-simulation model will be developed that is independent of the end application. Therefore, any group within NDOR will have the potential to utilize it in their work. While the NDOR engineers and planners may have to configure the model for a given application this will involve considerably less work than if they had to develop the model from scratch. 2) It is much more economical to have a single state of the art model rather than having different groups develop individual models for specific operations. This proposal leverages the knowledge and data from various NDOR departments. While it is relatively straightforward to run a micro-simulation model it is considerably more difficult to calibrate and validate it. Consequently, doing the calibration / validation step once means that the marginal cost of all future applications will be considerably lower. 3) The model can be used when explaining complex transportation projects to the general public. The graphics of many models are fairly sophisticated and can be used readily to illustrate complex topics during public meetings.
    Abstract
    This proposal will develop a state of the art micro-simulation model for the Nebraska State Highway System which can be used by NDOR designers, planners and traffic engineers. Because the ability to accurately and efficiently model traffic flow characteristics, drivers’ behavior, and traffic control operations is critical for obtaining realistic micro-simulation results, the model will be calibrated to Nebraska conditions. In addition, it will be designed so that a wide range of applications can be analyzed. A section of Interstate 80 between Lincoln and Omaha will be used as a test bed. Generic databases of both supply (i.e. link characteristics, traffic control devices, lane widths, etc.) and demand (origin – destination movements by vehicle type) will be developed.
    Project Amount
    $ 222,888
    Modal Orientation
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • Multimodal Transportation