Authors: XIAODONG ZHANG & GANG-LEN CHANG
Date: Nov. 2010
Due to rapid traffic growth in recent years, the Baltimore Beltway (I-695) is now experiencing considerable congestion even after the normal peak periods. Hence, identifying effective tools for contending with worsening congestion on I-695 has emerged as a priority task for the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA). This study expanded the current traffic simulation laboratory developed by SHA and the University of Maryland College Park (which includes simulators for I-495, I-270, and I-95), and began the construction of the I-695 simulator for use by SHA engineers in performing Baltimore area traffic studies. The simulator system contains the following principal components: (1) an intelligent system interface for input, output, and potential applications; (2) a GIS database for key information related to all network geometric features, driver characteristics, and traffic volume distributions; (3) a microscopic simulation database to model traffic behavior and the daily evolution of traffic patterns; and (4) a knowledge-based expert system module to project the durations of detected incidents. The completed I-695 traffic simulator will be part of the Traffic Simulator System sponsored by SHA, which can be used independently by traffic engineers for the Baltimore area or integrated with other existing simulators (e.g., I- 495, I-270) to analyze the regionwide traffic conditions between the Washington and Baltimore metropolises.