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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Analysis, Modeling, and Simulation Tools


 Provide the necessary tools and best practices to facilitate smart transportation operational decisions and investments.

"This chart shows the basic concept of how AMS tools can help solve transportation challenges. Reading left to right, the three headings are: Transportation Challenges, AMS Tools (Testing), and Solutions/Strategies. There are arrows between each heading to illustrate a process-oriented approach. Under the Transportation Challenges heading, there is a bulleted list that reads: mobility, efficiency, safety, design, and environmental impacts. Under the AMS Tools (Testing) heading, there is a diagram showing the development process. The steps in the process are: develop strategy, build study simulation model, calibrate with field data, and implement model and evaluate. Under the Solutions/Strategies heading, there is a bulleted list reading: smarter and cost effective transportation investments, safer and more efficiently designed systems, recommended technology transportation, and best practices manuals and documentation."

As the transportation system environment grows in complexity, so too does the need to identify increasingly innovative and efficient solutions to combat a wide range of challenges in transportation. Transportation solutions currently under research and development leverage emerging technologies, data sources, and alternative designs and strategies to optimize transportation safety and efficiency. To evaluate the performance of pilot transportation solutions, researchers use AMS tools.

They are also used to quantify the benefits of proposed transportation solutions through the estimation and evaluation of the impacts of emerging technologies, data sources, and alternative strategies. These tools and methodologies enable the thorough analysis of highway and public transportation projects and are distributed to State and local agency partners to support informed transportation investment decisions.

AMS tools and methodologies are undergoing continual updates to ensure the generation and dissemination of timely and relevant AMS best practices. Extensive research continues to aid development from researchers and practitioners, and AMS tools projects are primarily used to target three key areas in the following ways:

  • Connected automation – Used to evaluate the potential impacts of prominent connected and automated vehicle (CAV) applications. Projects in this area collect robust, real-world datasets, develop AMS tools and methodologies that capture the behavior of CAV technologies in traffic, and conduct case studies to better understand the real-world impacts of CAVs.
  • Congestion management and mitigation – Used to evaluate the potential impacts of alternative operational designs and strategies for managing and mitigating congestion or bottleneck areas. Projects in this area develop and disseminate AMS tools and methodologies that incorporate alternative operational strategies to reduce congestion or bottleneck areas.
  • State of the practice – Require appropriate model development, calibration, validation, and verification to ensure results are robust and trustworthy. Projects in this area develop best practices that incorporate behavioral heterogeneity, day-to-day variability of travel conditions, new data sources, and a multiresolution approach to model development to ensure proper utilization of AMS tools and foster their growth among public agencies.

Recent News

  • November/December 2019 edition of FHWA R&T Now features a suite of tools designed to evaluate the safety and operational effects of project-level geometric design decisions on highways.
  • FHWA awards $8 million to 10 States for innovative highway projects.
Last updated: Thursday, November 4, 2021