Traffic control operators in urban areas make reflex decisions to incidents and events on the road network. The Tool for Evaluating Strategies for Traffic (TEST) provides operators with a comprehensive software application to simulate traffic management scenarios, test out potential solutions, and generate traffic control plans for their UTMC systems.
TEST has been developed under contract to form an integral part of the West Midlands UTMC programme, providing a standardised easy access to a core simulation capability. This penetrates to the operations toolkit and is designed to be used in tandem with real world control systems.
Building on VISSIM
The simulation technology is based on PTV’s highly successful VISSIM traffic microsimulation engine. Detailed traffic network simulations are built using the VISSIM software suite and then the VISSIM model engine can be run, remotely through the COM interface protocol. This allows TEST to run on a client – server architecture, with users logging into a remote service.
Users located within regional traffic control centres can use the service to test operational theories in a safe simulated environment, with a key focus on changes to traffic signalling control plans. Plans that produce the best results can be exported into the UTMC command and control system through the Common Database (CDB).
A key innovation deployed in TEST is the development of a link between a simulated traffic control box (a UTC emulator) and the VISSIM microsimulation environment.
Until now, PCMOVA and PC SCOOT could not be emulated in the same model environment but with the release of PCMOVA 2, the technical limitation has now been lifted. This allows users of TEST to explore the effect of different UTC control settings on the traffic performance of the network. This tweaking can be done at a high level of resolution, tuning traffic behaviour to achieve any desired effect.
It has been designed to simplify the modelling process, making it accessible to non-specialist users and maximising the benefits of the distributed system.