Lesson 3


Traffic Engineering Tools and Methodologies

Lesson 3 is comprised of three modules that introduce student a number of tools and methodologies that are used in the traffic engineering profession.  In addition, this lesson is also aimed at giving students the ability to use these tools to aid in the development of solutions.  The tools that will be introduced as a part of this lesson include traffic simulation software, time-space diagrams and how to execute a data collection effort and analyze the data obtained. 

When introducing the students to traffic simulation, instructions will begin by giving a general overview of what is traffic simulation and the various types that are used in the field.  Afterwards, special attention will be placed of VISSIM.  The instructor will walk through a number of key features of VISSIM and present a series of animated videos demonstrating applications of VISSIM.  The introduction to time-space diagrams will be an activity-based module as instructors and students will be creating time-space diagrams in real-time.  This method of introducing the time-space concept has been proven to be one of the more effective ways to decoding all the information associated with time-space diagrams.  The final module involves the calculation of reaction times for all.  Possible factors that may affect one’s reaction time and the effects of various reaction times when operating a motor vehicle were examined during this laboratory exercise.


VISSIM - A Microscopic Traffic Simulation Software (Photo: VISSIM Manual)


Tool Generates Time-Space Diagram Based on Vehicle Movement through a Corridor


At the end of the three modules students should be aware of a number of tools that are used in traffic engineering, be familiar with the traffic simulation, VISSIM in particular, and be able to create and interpret simple time-space diagrams.  Additionally, students should be able to understand the importance of data collection efforts, as it relates to the development of solutions for given problems.  The introduction of these tools also seeks make the field of traffic engineering more accessible to the student.  Instructors will be sure emphasize that these are the tools are currently being used to solve real world problems.  To reinforce this point, the final lesson in this program will be a design challenge that will have groups of students working together, using these tools maximize the efficiency of various movements through a corridor. 

 Links to Lesson 3 Modules