Network Modeling Center Profile
Within CTR, a group of researchers and students dedicate their efforts to developing innovative transportation network models and bringing them into practice. Created in 2011, the Network Modeling Center (NMC) focuses on dynamic traffic assignment (DTA) models, allowing researchers to examine transportation networks and how changes to those networks will impact travelers’ route choices.
NMC Director, Jen Duthie, has been an integral part of NMC’s creation and success. “Dynamic traffic modeling at the regional scale is an emerging area in the world of transportation planning, and it’s exciting to play a meaningful role. Our primary goal is to plan more efficient transportation systems, and we now have the the tools to do just that”, explains Duthie.
Initial funding for the NMC came from the Texas Department of Transportation and the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO). To enhance the collaboration between the NMC and CAMPO, both modeling teams are co-located at CTR.
Recent DTA research efforts have focused on enhanced visualization of results – a collaborative effort with the Texas Advanced Computing Center, integrating DTA into the traditional travel model framework, adding emissions output capabilities, and predicting queue lengths at work zones.
“TACC houses one of the largest supercomputers in the world, so running our models on their machines will allow for huge savings in terms of run time, and will allow us to add even more functionalities to our model”, said Duthie.
Recent model applications include examining the impact of proposed changes to Congress Avenue through downtown Austin that would remove one lane for “through” travel in each direction, add a left turn lane, and widen the outside lane, as well as modeling several proposed configurations for State Highway 45 Southwest.
Outside of Austin, the NMC has test beds in the Dallas-Fort Worth and San Angelo regions.