By Alicia Green,2014-01-20 02:47
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    Technical Advisor: Harlan Miller, Office of Planning

    Contractor: Kevin Balke, Texas Transportation Institute


    ? Identify the user needs for evaluating operations and ITS projects in the planning process by:

    o Reviewing literature to assess the current processes and criteria used by agencies to

    identify and assess operational improvements for inclusion in their TIPs.

    o Holding a one-day workshop with representatives from state DOTs and local MPOs

    to discuss the approach and processes used to identify and rank projects in TIPs. ? Using results of the literature review and the workshop, develop a taxonomy of user needs

    for assessing operations and ITS projects.

    ? Assess the capabilities of several software tools available to planners for quantifying the

    benefits and costs associated with ITS and operations projects. Specific software tools

    evaluated include the following:

    o ITS Deployment Analysis System (IDAS)?,

    o Dynamic Network Assignment Simulation Model for Advanced Road Telematics for ?Planning Applications (DYNASMART-P), and ?o Microscopic Traffic Simulation (e.g., CORSIM, VISSIM, etc.).

    ? Provide recommendations for modifying software tools to assist planners and decision-

    makers in quantifying the impacts and assessing the benefits of operations-oriented

    improvements in the LRP and TIP planning processes.

    Findings from Workshop

    ? There is no consistency in the approaches that agencies use to identify and evaluate operations

    projects in TIPs. Some agencies have no formal evaluation processes, other agencies use a

    subjective ranking methodology, while other agencies uses a formal process of assessing

    benefits and costs.

    ? There is a general lack of knowledge about what tools are available for evaluating ITS and

    operations projects and how they can be used for the LRTP and TIP planning processes.

    There is a need to develop mechanisms (such as a catalog of feature, a clearinghouse,

    workshops, etc.) for disseminating this information about the features and limitations of the

    various tools as well as providing guidance on how the tools can be used in these and other

    planning processes. Agencies need good case studies and/or syntheses of practice that

    illustrate how agencies can successfully incorporate operations in the planning process.

    ? Additional information is needed on the benefits and costs associated with operational and

    ITS projects. Agencies need guidance on how they can adopt benefit and cost information

    from other locations to fit to specific regions.

    ? Agencies need guidance on how historical and archived data can assist in calibrating inputs

    and outputs of available tools.

    ? Often there is not very much time to do a complex evaluation or exhaustive analyses of

    alternatives. Agencies need a tool that can assist them in making investment decisions

    related to implementing operational decisions.

    1/20/2010 1 Texas Transportation Institute

     Planning Analysis Tools for Operations/ITS Evaluation: Gap Study

    ? Agencies need a tool that can assist them in determining what portion of their allocations is

    appropriate for operational improvements in a region. Agencies expect to use the tool to

    assist in justify their expenditures and in determining the rate of return on their investment in

    operational improvements in a region.

    ? Agencies need a tool that will allow them to analyze and quantify the air quality and

    environmental assessment benefits associated with making different operational

    improvements. Agencies expect to be able to use the tool to assist in air quality conformity

    and environmental assessment studies.

    Assessment of Tools

    ? Table 1 shows the results of assessment of the various tools to the identified taxonomy of

    user needs.

    ? IDAS appears to be the best suited for analyzing improvements in the long-range planning

    process because it accumulates benefits over time for the life-cycle duration of each of the

    improvement types, it computes the benefits and costs associated with deploying various ITS

    and operational improvements, either in isolation or in combination with others, and it

    generates performance measures on a system or regional basis. However, because of its

    complexity, the time required to setup and calibrate the model to local conditions, the lack of

    guidance on how to adjust the benefit and cost information to local conditions, and the

    general lack of knowledge about its availability, capabilities, and potential application,

    IDAS has not seen widespread use in the planning process.

    ? DYNASMART-P and microscopic simulation are better suited for conducting detailed

    analyses of how an operations-oriented project or ITS deployment will affect traffic flow and

    operations on a facility or corridor. These tools can evaluate the effectiveness of specific

    improvements by modeling how individual drivers react to and respond to operational

    improvements. Microscopic simulation is particularly useful for assessing changes in control

    strategies. DYNASMART-P uses dynamic traffic assignment to model effects of traveler

    information systems.

    What are the Gaps?

    ? All modeling tools are rather data intensive and time-consuming to set up. Because of time

    and access to data constraints, many agencies are not using the tools to perform alternatives

    analyses. A tool is needed that first “scans” the range of feasible alternatives and then

    performs a more in-depth assessment of benefits.

    ? None of the available tools provide information on how improvements need to be staged so

    as to maximize benefits in a region. A tool is needed that can look at the type of systems and

    technologies already deployed in an area and determine the order and sequencing of

    particular improvements so as to maximize rate of return on the investment in operational


    ? None of the tools have a process whereby real-time or historical data can be used to

    automatically calibrate results of the model.

    ? None of the tools completely assess the impacts and economic benefits of the all the potential

    operational improvements being performed in a region. The tool needs to be able to support

    both region and corridor specific improvements and permit the assessment of time-dependent 1/20/2010 2 Texas Transportation Institute

     Planning Analysis Tools for Operations/ITS Evaluation: Gap Study

    improvements such as work zones, congestion pricing, variable tolling, special event

    management, evacuation management, etc.

Table 1. Assessment of the Capabilities of the Tools to Address Various User Analysis


    Microscopic Analysis Need IDAS DYNASMART-P Simulation Planning Study Types ? Benefit/Costs Comparisons ? Alternative Analysis ? Assessment of Operational Impacts

    Spatial Analysis Needs ? Isolated/facility level benefits ? Corridor level benefits ? Regional/System-level benefits

    Temporal Analysis Needs ? Present Time (0-5 yrs)

    ? Intermediate (5-10 yrs) ? Long-term (10-15 yrs)

    Other Planning Assessments ? Air Quality Conformity ? NEPA/Environmental Justice a b ? FTA New Starts - ? Toll Road Operations ? Work Zones ? Incidents ? Congestion Pricing ? Special Events

    Travel Choice Parameters ? Mode Split Implications ? Induced/Foregone Demand c ? Dynamic Routing ? Changes in Capacity ? Variable Time Eventsd a Limited to only a few operational improvements b Bus only c Depends on simulation package selected d These would include events such as work zones, congestion pricing, variable tolling, etc.

? The tool also needs to produce a wide variety of performance measures that quantify not only

    traditional transportation related measures (such as travel improvement, safety, and fuel

    consumption), but also non-traditional performance measures (such as travel time reliability,

    1/20/2010 3 Texas Transportation Institute

     Planning Analysis Tools for Operations/ITS Evaluation: Gap Study

    customer satisfaction, air quality conformity, environmental impacts, infrastructure security,


    ? As currently configured, none of the evaluation tools specifically support strategic visioning

    of operational improvements. To support strategic visioning, a tool is needed that examines

    how traffic patterns are likely to change over a fixed interval (e.g., annual) for the duration of

    the planning horizon, and determines the type and sequencing of operational projects needed

    in a region to maximize the use of the existing capacity. The tool would use as its baseline

    the current level of operational deployments in a region and agency requirements/preferences

    to identify logical “program” of operational improvements that could be deployed over time.

    The tool would also help identify technology, training, and staffing needed to effectively

    operate and maintain the system.


    ? To improve functionality of the IDAS software tool to it more usefule to agencies in the

    LRTP and TIP planning processes, the following is recommended:

    o Expand the methodology used in IDAS to support evaluating time-sensitive

    improvements, such as work zones, variable tolling, congestion pricing, parking

    management, weather management, evacuation planning, special event management,


    o Provide guidance and procedures for calibrating results, including the use of historical

    or archived data.

    o Expand the set of performance measures to permit evaluation of impacts on agency

    efficiencies, security and infrastructure protection, customer satisfaction, and transit


    o Update the procedures for estimating safety and air quality impacts. Provide “live

    update” capability to benefits/costs database.

    o Allow user to modify network information to permit evaluation of TSM-type capacity

    enhancements. IDAS requires that the user to go back to the original transportation

    demand model to make network modifications.

    o Expand the decision support functions so that IDAS can assess the current level of

    deployment and recommend improvements that might provide additional benefits at

    marginal costs.

    ? Action that can be taken to achieve better integration of operations and ITS projects in the

    planning process include the following:

    o Improve the level of education and awareness of the tools that are available to assist

    agencies with incorporating operations and ITS projects in their planning processes.

    o Provide agencies with specific guidance on how to incorporate the use of evaluation

    tools in the planning process, specifically the TIP process.

    o Improve the process for collecting and disseminating benefits and cost information

    associated with ITS projects. Integrate model approaches of IDAS and

    DYNASMART/microscopic simulation so that operational benefits more directly

    correspond to changes in driver behavior.

    o Expand the decision-making functionality of the evaluation tools to assist agencies in

    proactively determining type and sequencing of improvements based on the current

    level of deployment and regional technology preferences.

    1/20/2010 4 Texas Transportation Institute

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