A Regional Traffic Simulation/Assignment Model for Evaluation of Transit Performance and Asset Utilization

Available Documents
Interim Reports
Final Report
Final Presentation

Primary Investigator
Dr. Thanasis Ziliaskopoulos
Transportation Program
Civil Engineering Department
2145 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
(847) 4674540
(846) 491 3090 fax

Project Objective
The proposed study will provide Chicago’s RTA with the necessary modeling capabilities and tools to evaluate the regional impact of deploying various bus priority and operational
management strategies for transit. Further, the team will assist RTA personnel to systematically develop and analyze all necessary scenarios for deployment and control, so that the impacts of these strategies are well understood. Impacts to be considered include travel time benefits to transit riders, increases in transit rider-ship and increased efficiency in utilization of transit equipment, as well as travel time and routing effects on general traffic.

Project Abstract
To achieve the above objectives, a hybrid micro-/meso-scopic simulation/assignment model called VISTA (Visual Interactive System for Transportation Algorithms) developed by researchers at Northwestern University (NU) and other institutions will be enhanced and used to account for the propagation of transit vehicles and their interactions with the highway users, as well as various transit priority strategies such as signal preemption. Further, mode and route choice decisions will be captured by modeling complete trips of both people and vehicles as they move through the regional multimodal network. The model will be calibrated to capture the Chicago reality in the best possible way based on readily available data, obtained from existing sources including RTA, CATS, IDOT, and municipalities. The data will be integrated into the VISTA framework, and various scenarios that account for different combinations of transit priority and scheduling control will be developed, simulated and analyzed. The research will be carried out mainly by a team of professors and graduate students from NU with the guidance of RTA personnel in the design and analysis of scenarios. A Technical Advisory Committee will be formed to monitor and assist the research team in the study. VISTA is a simulation/assignment approach, which includes routing algorithms to collectively compute the equilibrium routes of all vehicles in the network.

Task Descriptions

  1. Task 1- Identify/Acquire relevant data for the Region’s transport and transit system.
  2. Task 2- Enhancements to VISTA simulator, signal control emulator, the database.
  3. Task 3- Code, Model, and Validate Base Year.
  4. Task 4 – Document and Present Enhanced VISTA capabilities.
  5. Task 5 – Experimental Design – Some of the issues to consider when designing this experiment will be: What questions will the design answer? What measures of effectiveness are needed to answer these questions? What is the information cost/benefit? There is no specific formula or strategy for deriving some cut-off point in this regard. The research team will make an effort to design an experiment with the least amount optimizing the requirements of the data and the information produced.
  6. Task 6 – Analyze the results and Define additional needs
  7. Task 7 – Deliverables – final report and 3 months access to VISTA. Half day workshop will be organized..

Relationship to Other Research Projects
While related research was not explicitly identified in the workplan it is anticipated that the efforts of this research will be informed by existing and previous efforts either directly or indirectly related to this research project. This research will include a comprehensive literature review of the following publications: Textbooks, publications, and conference proceedings on preventative maintenance; TRB publications and case studies; Transportation Journal; Journal of Quality in Maintenance Engineering; International Journal of Quality and Reliability Management; and Public agency resource materials (AASHTO, SHRP, NCHRP).

Technology Transfer Activities
Reports and ½ day workshop. Plus the consistent input through an Advisory project

Potential Benefits of the Project
This project adopts a regional impact approach and helps prioritize investment

Project Information

  • Milestones, Dates: 12 month project from date contract is signed
  • Yearly Budget: $209,494, Total Budget: $209,494, Matching Funds & %: $112,768 (54% – Chicago RTA)
  • Student Involvement: 2 graduate research assistants.
  • TRB Keywords: transit, occupant modeling, ridership
  • Modal Orientation: Transit
  • Project Number: 03-03