Best Practices for Modeling Light Rail at Intersections

University  University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL)
Principal Investigators  John Sangster, Ph.D., P.E., PTOE, Civil  Engineering (PI)
PI Contact Information  330F WHIT
Lincoln: City Campus
Office (402) 472-0314
Funding Source(s) and Amounts Provided (by each agency or organization)  UTCRS (USDOT UTC Program): $72,250
NE Department of Roads: $36,125
Total Project Cost  $108,375
Agency ID or Contract Number  DTRT13-G-UTC59
Start and End Dates October 2016 - June 2018
Brief Description of Research Project  This research aims to provide guidelines for best practices in modeling urban light rail facilities within transportation simulation software packages, including VISSIM and Aimsun, and improve the understanding of engineers and planners considering light rail facilities. The case study location of four intersections in Denver, Colorado was analyzed thoroughly to monitor and capture the traffic demand and signal timing plans as a preliminary input for the simulation software environments. The traffic signal patterns of the intersections, including vehicular traffic, light rail, and pedestrian phases has been observed as accurately as possible using both on-site observations and review of video recordings. All the field observations have been documented in this report, and have been implemented faithfully in the simulation environment. Current versions of two of the most widely used simulation software packages were used, VISSIM and Aimsun, attempting to accurately reproduce the traffic conditions observed. While documenting the modeling steps of the simulation software packages, the authors take for granted that conventional road network modeling is known to the audience, and have instead focused on the modeling techniques specific to the light rail movement. Several screen shots of the functionalities regarding the modeling tools have been included. It is the authors’ intention that practitioners and researchers with limited or no prior experience will be able to model the light rail movement based on the documentation herein, and that ultimately, the observations and recommendations of signal timing techniques described in this report will enrich the state of practice for modeling light rail with traffic simulation software.
Keywords light rail, signal preemption, simulation modeling, multi-modal optimization.
Describe Implementation of Research Outcomes (or why not implemented) Place Any Photos Here See Report.
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation (actual, not anticipated) See Report.
Project Website