Digital Practice

Traffic Modeling

Traffic Modeling

Software tools are exceedingly beneficial when planning the flow of traffic. Walter P Moore utilizes several programs to facilitate the planning process. VISSIM, a microscopic simulation model for traffic flow, can be used in many different ways, from signal timing to freeway weaving analysis. This software can be used to accurately simulate urban and highway traffic including motorized vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians as well as light rail and other transit vehicles. With a high level of detail, it allows us to simulate traffic scenarios long before a client is ready to build.

At Walter P Moore we’ve taken VISSIM a step further by applying it to complex vehicle interactions such as valet operations for clients with high volumes of traffic.  Early in projects, clients may underestimate the area needed to support their valet area which could result is encumbered vehicular flow. Reviewing simulation modeling allows design teams to properly plan for adequate space and avoid future congestion in a pick-up/drop-off area.

From commercial office buildings to hospitals that operate 24 hours a day, Walter P Moore uses AutoTURN, a software that facilitates the planning of vehicular maneuvering to a building’s service area. No matter what a building’s function is, loading docks are crucial to its operations. Walter P Moore utilizes the software to automate vehicle maneuvering to assist in designing a loading area that will be easily accessible and meet the needs of various vehicle sizes. On sites that may have limited space for loading areas, we organize ‘truck rodeos’ to test the proposed layout by building a mockup of the dock on an open parking lot and having truck drivers test the route to each loading bay. This allows for the client and design team to understand how well the dock works and make any necessary changes early in the project.

Energy Drive

This roundabout was designed to meet vehicle demands while preserving a large existing tree. VISSIM was used to identify the number of lanes needed for each approach to the roundabout and in the circle. AutoTURN was used to ensure that large trucks could utilize the roundabout without damaging curbs or encroaching other travel lanes.

Energy Drive

MDACC Alkek Hospital

This drop-off/pick-up area at the MD Anderson Alkek Hospital serves multiple purposes. In addition to standard valet services, the hospital wanted to accommodate patient drop-offs/pick-ups and discharge patients. It was also known that the valet parking spaces were a long distance from this site, requiring vehicles to stage in the area for an extended time period. VISSIM was used to model the various dwell times per vehicle type to make sure that no vehicles would spill back into the adjacent roadway.

MDACC Alkek

Allen Parkway

A video fly-through was developed to communicate to city officials and area stakeholders what the Allen Parkway improvements might look like as they considered the viability of the project. The project is planned to include improving pedestrian crossings and traffic movement, increasing parking for the new Buffalo Bayou Park, and enhancing the environment of this prominent gateway leading to Downtown Houston. Local TV stations were able to use the video to illustrate to the public what was being considered by the City. This video is a platform for understanding the project and its impact, generating comments and design suggestions, and establishing open and transparent communications with the public on a very high profile project.

Allen Parkway

TCH Women’s Pavilion

Visualization tools are an ideal way to show the dynamic intersections of traffic operations. Walter P Moore utilizes these tools and combines them with other Building Information Modeling tools to visually communicate how traffic can function and how specific improvements can impact and improve circulation. The Pavilion is located on a narrow parcel between two major arterials. We created a simulation model to study traffic interactions at the new facility and the impact of valet systems on the function of the internal drives. The loading dock was virtually tested using the software AutoTURN which simulates vehicle turning maneuvers. In addition, a physical simulation of the tight truck dock was constructed offsite during design and tested using real vehicles to observe how the vehicles performed. This “Truck Rodeo” is a tool used to ensure concepts really work prior to completing design. These examples of visual communication show how users, designers and contractors can use this information to create better buildings.

Loading dock test using AutoTURN

Loading dock test using AutoTURN

Truck Rodeo of the Service Area