What happens if a supermarket wants to compete with the local grocery store next door? Or if a newly-built skyscraper produces a sudden and excessive increase in the population of Little-Puddleton-on-the-Marsh? Structural changes such as these may have a substantial influence on the traffic situation. With PTV Vistro, the PTV Group has now developed easy-to-use software that can be used to conduct traffic studies for such scenarios and at the same time, to optimise traffic signals. Especially attractive: Thanks to drag & drop and node templates, PTV Vistro allows the user to develop networks quickly.
In many countries, changes in land use, such as new housing or shopping centres, have to be accompanied by a traffic study to assess the development’s impact on the traffic situation. “Our PTV Vistro software leads the user through the individual steps of a traffic study and also offers him the opportunity to plan and optimise the traffic signals directly within this workflow,” reports Dr.-Ing. Axel Leonhardt, Director Product Management PTV Vistro. Something that previously required two different tools now requires just one solution. This increases data consistency and efficiency.
First the user creates his network around the area to be examined. Bing maps and aerials, drag & drop, node templates and “snap-to-handles” make modelling easier. Then the user specifies the geometry of the network, adds data from traffic counts and specifies traffic control rules for the individual nodes, such as two-way-stop control or traffic signals. “Alternatively, existing networks can be imported from our PTV Visum planning software and other planning tools”, says Leonhardt. Things also work the other way round: “PTV Vistro also allows users to create their network model in a highly efficient manner. This makes the software attractive as an additional tool for the Visum or Vissim user,” says Leonhardt.
Traffic signal optimisation at the push of a button
Based on the base volumes and the volumes induced by new developments, the Level of Service and other indicators are calculated according to the selected analysis method, such as the Highway Capacity Manual (HCM) methodology. In many projects, it is not only important to analyse the system, but also to adjust traffic signals to optimally process the demand. “The traffic engineer can use PTV Vistro to optimise the traffic signals at the push of a button – for individual intersections, selected corridors or whole networks,” says Leonhardt.
“Analysing different traffic demand scenarios and planning variants – both with respect to individual nodes as well as to the entire network – is an essential part of most of our customers’ projects. A built-in scenario manager is completely geared towards assisting this process,” explains Leonhardt. PTV Vistro offers automated reporting for the final version of the traffic impact analyses and signal optimisation. The report is output as a PDF. Thus, traffic engineers no longer have to spend a lot of time combining results. In addition, users can transfer data from PTV Vistro directly into PTV Vissim in order to conduct detailed analyses using microscopic traffic simulation. “PTV Vistro is an integral component of our Vision Traffic Suite and as such offers interfaces to the PTV Vissim traffic simulation software and the PTV Visum transport planning software which allows users to also model large-scale networks and multi-modal transport, says Leonhardt.