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Traffic Analysis Toolbox Volume III: Guidelines for Applying Traffic Microsimulation Modeling Software 2019 Update to the 2004 Version

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

TAT Volume III: Guidelines for Applying Traffic Microsimulation Modeling Software 2019 Update to the 2004 Version

5. Report Date

April 2019

6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

2019 Update Authors: Karl Wunderlich, Meenakshy Vasudevan, and Peiwei Wang (Noblis)
2004 Authors: Richard Dowling, Alexander Skabardonis, Vassili Alexiadis

8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address

500 L'Enfant Plaza, S.W., Suite 900
Washington, DC 20024

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Operations
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Final Report

14. Sponsoring Agency Code


15. Supplementary Notes

Work Performed for: John Halkias (FHWA) and James Colyar (FHWA)

16. Abstract

Microsimulation is the modeling of individual vehicle movements on a second or sub-second basis for the purpose of assessing the traffic performance of highway and street systems, transit, and pedestrians. Microsimulation analyses are increasingly visible and important - fostered both by the continued evolution of microsimulation software capability and increasing application within transportation engineering and planning practices. These guidelines provide practitioners with guidance on the appropriate application of microsimulation models to traffic analysis problems, with an overarching focus on existing and future alternatives analysis.

This 2019 Update of the original 2004 guide [1] includes significantly enhanced and detailed technical guidance dealing with data collection and analysis (Chapter 2), model calibration (Chapter 5), and alternatives analysis (Chapter 6). A more complex corridor-based example problem is used to illustrate application of the updated guidance. Finally, a complete end-to-end case study using a large microsimulation model for a hypothetical work zone alternatives analysis is included in an appendix. This case study illustrates the application of the detailed guidance on data collection and analysis, calibration and alternatives analysis. The goals of this update are to:

  • Encourage comprehensive experimental design based a range of varying travel conditions, rather than a normative "average" day.
  • Focus calibration and alternatives analysis on the representation of time-dynamic system performance measures including bottleneck formation and dissipation.
  • Eliminate all subjective criteria, replace with criteria that are statistically valid and derived from observed data.
  • Develop a calibration process that is data-driven, repeatable, and potentially automatable.
17. Key Words

Simulation Modeling, Transportation Analysis Tools, Operational Conditions, Travel Conditions, Calibration, Alternatives Analysis, Cluster Analysis, Data Collection and Analysis, Traffic Simulation, Traffic Modeling

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions

19. Security Classif. (of this report)


20. Security Classif. (of this page)


21. No of Pages


22. Price


Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)
Reproduction of completed page authorized


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