Comparative evaluation of adaptive traffic control system assessments through field and microsimulation


Usually, benefits from deploying an adaptive traffic control system are measured by comparing data collected in the field before the system is installed with those collected after the system is fully operational. Such an approach is costly because it requires installation of a system before potential benefits can be observed. Nowadays to investigate effectiveness of many alternatives that were traditionally investigated in field, microsimulation is used. However, how much can one rely on results from microsimulation? There has not been a single study in which benefits of adaptive traffic control systems measured in the field are compared with those obtained through microsimulation. This study presents such a research effort. The authors compared performance measures from a field evaluation of Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System in Park City, Utah, to their counterparts from microsimulation. They collected a significant amount of data to assess system performance in the field and to help build a microsimulation model. A 14-intersection model of the Park City network was developed, calibrated, and validated on the basis of multiple data sources. The results show that a validated microsimulation model can accurately reflect field conditions although such an effort can be very challenging.

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