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Assessing Potential Project Benefits: Analysis, Modeling, and Simulation

The data collected about a corridor can provide a broad and detailed picture of its attributes, operations, and user needs. This information then raises key questions for the ICM project:

  • How could ICM improve corridor performance?
  • What are the most important scenarios that can be addressed by the project (recurrent congestion, incidents, weather, planned events, etc.)?
  • What response strategies should be considered?
  • How should the effectiveness of response strategies be measured?
  • How should benefits and costs be assessed?

These questions are explored through analysis, modeling, and simulation (AMS)—the use of modeling and simulation tools to test the impact of various control strategies and assess the potential benefits and implications of ICM.

An evaluation process

Analysis, modeling, and simulation (AMS) is an evaluation process used to understand traffic operations along a corridor, identify key transportation challenges, and explore potential management strategies to improve corridor operational performance. A vital part of the systems engineering methodology, AMS is tasked with ensuring that solutions are chosen correctly, funds are spent effectively, and performance is measured quantitatively. It plays an essential role in the I-210 Pilot project and proceeds in phases along with the planning, implementation, deployment, and evaluation of the I-210 Pilot itself.

Core components

The core components of AMS are:

  1. Analysis—Developing as thorough an understanding of the corridor as possible through detailed investigation of available information about the corridor.
  2. Modeling—Developing and calibrating a model that captures existing traffic conditions. Model building is an iterative process that begins with the best data and best understood parts of the corridor, and continues as additional data are analyzed and the extent of the model is expanded.
  3. Simulation—Using the developed model to improve understanding of traffic behavior on the corridor and to define and select the best management strategies and control interventions to address its key challenges.