Using TRANSIMS for On-line Transportation System Management during Emergencies
In the last few years, the topic of transportation systems management during emergencies has received national attention in light of unfortunate events such as the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina and recent terrorist attacks. At the same time, the progress made in deploying Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technologies all across the country is making a real-time, adaptive approach to transportation systems management and control feasible. Unfortunately, few decision support systems for on-line transportation system management during emergencies exist; although several research studies are striving to address this gap.
A Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) funded research project currently being conducted at the University at Buffalo (UB) in partnership with the Greater Buffalo Niagara Regional Transportation Council (GBNRTC) and the Niagara International Transportation Technology Coalition (NITTEC) is addressing these issues.
As part of this project, UB researchers are working on the development, extension and calibration of a large-scale micro-simulation of the Greater Buffalo-Niagara Metropolitan area using TRANSIMS, an agent-based micro-simulation modeling platform originally developed at Los Alamos National Lab for FHWA. In this regard, the UB team is building on the original model developed by Volpe National Transportation Systems Center for the region. Among the accomplishments of the project so far are:
- The extension and further calibration of the Buffalo-Niagara area TRANSIMS model;
- The development of a prototype ITS data warehouse to house travel;
- The development of models to quantify the impact of inclement weather (i.e. snow storms) on freeway travel speeds;
- The adaptation of the TRANSIMS micro-simulator model to allow for capturing the impact of inclement weather on driver behavior;
- The use of the TRANSIMS model to simulate some likely emergency scenarios in the region and to evaluate their likely impact.
Research results were shared at a peer exchange meeting, held on March 15, 2012, at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Entitled Transportation Systems Modeling and Management in Inclement Weather Conditions, the meeting featured presentations by experts from the FHWA, FHWA's Turner Fairbank Highway Research Center, the University of Maryland's Center for Advanced Transportation Technology (CATT) Laboratory, the New York State (NYS) Department of Transportation, and the New York State Thruway Authority.