General

You are here

Analysis Modeling and Simulation Overview

Background

FHWA and its State and local agency partners have relied on analysis, modeling, and simulation (AMS) to support investment decisions for the transportation system. As the transportation system environment grows in complexity, increasing pressure is placed on agencies to identify more innovative and efficient solutions to a wide range of issues. These solutions include leveraging emerging technologies, data sources, and alternative (non-traditional) strategies. AMS tools will continue to play a critical role in evaluating these solutions. In fact, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act dictates utilizing AMS tools “to the fullest and most economically feasible extent practicable” to analyze highway and public transportation projects. As transportation solutions become more sophisticated and complex, corresponding AMS tools will need to evolve; AMS tools must be able to effectively and fully quantify the benefits of proposed solutions.

To this end, the AMS study area was developed to estimate and evaluate the impacts of emerging technologies, data sources, and alternative strategies; develop AMS tools for researchers and practitioners; collaborate with industry partners to adopt these AMS capabilities in commercial software; and provide implementation guidance. The study area is divided into three evolving areas: emerging technologies; alternative operational strategies; and enhancing the state-of-the-practice of AMS methodologies and their application. The following sections describe the vision and goals of the AMS study area as well as specific objectives in each area.

Vision

Provide the necessary analysis, modeling, and simulation (AMS) tools and guidance so public agencies can make the best possible transportation investment decisions.

Goals

  1. Enhance and disseminate AMS tools that incorporate connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies. Develop and disseminate guidance on their application.
  2. Enhance and disseminate AMS tools that incorporate alternative operational strategies to promote congestion management/mitigation. Develop and disseminate guidance on their application.
  3. Promote the state of the practice by enhancing and disseminating improved AMS methodologies. Develop and disseminate continual guidance on proper application and best practices.

Objectives

Connected Automation

  1. Develop methodologies that improve existing AMS tools to incorporate CAV technologies.
  2. Develop AMS tools for and analyze potential impacts of prominent CAV applications.
  3. Disseminate improved AMS tools to State and local agency partners. This includes collaborating with industry to push the adoption of CAV AMS capabilities into commercial software.
  4. Develop and disseminate guidance on applying CAV AMS tools.

Congestion Management/Mitigation

  1. Identify and prioritize mobility problems in recurring congestion or bottleneck areas. Devise and evaluate deployment-ready remedies that promote congestion management/mitigation. This includes alternative operational strategies and designs.
  2. Develop and disseminate AMS tools for these treatments or remedies. Develop and disseminate guidance on their application.

AMS State-of-the-Practice

  1. Develop and disseminate continual guidance on the application of AMS tools and methodologies. Promote correct usage and foster its growth among public agencies. Evaluate if the state of the practice is meeting agencies’ needs and take corrective action if not.
  2. Enhance and disseminate AMS tools and methodologies to incorporate day-to-day variability of travel conditions—including external factors (e.g., work zones, weather conditions, traffic incidents, the roadside environment, etc.). Develop and disseminate guidance on their application.
  3. Enhance and disseminate AMS methodologies to incorporate new data sources. This includes trajectory, connected vehicle, and probe vehicle data. Develop and disseminate guidance on how these data sources can improve the application of AMS tools.
  4. Enhance and disseminate AMS methodologies related to mesoscopic and multiresolution tools. Develop and disseminate guidance to encourage a more holistic analysis of network- and system-level benefits.
Updated: Thursday, August 23, 2018