Caught (up) in traffic

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Daily Archives: March 6, 2012

Capacity building: tools for traffic analysis

The National Center for Transportation Studies (NCTS) of the University of the Philippines recently received a very generous donation from the Manila North Tollways Corporation (MNTC), which has partnered with the Center in the conduct of training programs for its staff. The donation includes several software packages that would help the Center leapfrog from its modest capabilities and allow it to be par in as far as tools are concerned with government agencies and private entities who have acquired similar software.

Commercial transport planning and traffic engineering software such as those for travel demand forecasting and traffic simulation are quite expensive, and the Center has been using only old versions of TRAF-NETSIM, JICA STRADA and software developed by its staff using programming languages that are also taught by the several of its fellows. Perhaps the most recent acquisition of the Center prior to the donation is the CUBE transport planning software, which has been utilized to migrate the transport model for Metro Manila that was developed in 1999 using JICA STRADA. The latter effort was conducted in cooperation with the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) with data gathered through various projects over the last few years to update the road network and traffic inputs.

Of course, there have been temptations before as there are bootleg software around but the Center has refrained from acquiring and using such software consistent with the University’s policy pertaining to intellectual property rights and acceptable use. Instead, we have encouraged our students to develop their own applications though some have been crude in terms of user interface. Still, these are effective for tools in their researches.

The donation includes academic versions of VISSIM (the same simulation software acquired some years ago by the MMDA followed by the DPWH) and SIDRA, which is for intersection analysis. Also acquired in the donation are full versions of the same SIDRA, Synchro with SimTraffic (also a micro-simulation software) and Anadelta TESSERA (highway design software). Soon to be delivered are a new version of the TSIS/TRAF-NETSIM software and accident analysis software (road safety). This is in addition to GPS units that were recently delivered and a LIDAR gun for speed measurements that will donated this year (2012).

Dr. Ricardo Sigua, head of the NCTS Road Safety Research Laboratory and a Professor at the Institute of Civil Engineering of UP, recently held a brief training session with our senior undergraduate students for using the VISSIM software. He gave them group assignments afterwards and already, there is much excitement among the students who have the opportunity to use top of the line software for their studies. We look forward to their presentations in two weeks time when they are to show the outcomes of their modeling work.

Dr. Sigua teaching students how to use the VISSIM at the Toyota Training Room – the tarp is a fixture from a training course held recently at the same room

Unlike the past decades, many students now have their own notebook computers where they could install the student edition of the VISSIM software.