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Strategic and Sketch Modelling

Modelling is often required for a whole city or region. When the geographic area covers several cities, and the model scope is broad, this is sometimes referred to sketch modelling.

Strategic Modelling is generally used for city wide modelling. All major cities have strategic models, but their level of complexity varies greatly.

We have undertaken extensive strategic modelling using existing strategic models as well as the strategic models and sketch models that we have developed. These studies include:

  • analysing and reporting on traffic conditions resulting from current and future land use and or transport infrastructure changes
  • freeways, motorways bypasses and tunnels
  • tourist and freight studies – see Freight Page
  • sketch model studies
  • converting models from one software package to another

Transport Modelling has INRO's Emme software license and has used almost every strategic transport modelling software employed in Australia.

Figure 1: Sketch model plot for the Transport Assessment for the Alternative Patterns of Development (APOD’s) for the Wide Bay Burnett Region showing the AADT (Average Annual Daily Traffic). This plot shows the difference in traffic (green less traffic and red more traffic) with the particular changes in population and employment shown by the bars.

Strategic & Sketch Modelling

Some studies that Transport Modelling has been involved in are listed below.

Freeways, Motorways & Tunnels

Transport Modelling has been contracted to do the demand modelling for infrastructure projects including the M2 and M5 Motorways and the F3 and F6 Freeways. This work was carried out with the existing models. The modelling software packages used included Emme, Cube and TRACKS.

In addition, Transport Modelling has developed special purpose corridor models to study the M5 and (Sydney) Eastern Distributor toll roads, as well as several tunnel projects.

Transport Modelling also assisted Brisbane City Council with their evaluation of the Strategic Transport Opportunities for Brisbane infrastructure projects. The study used the newly developed Brisbane Strategic Transport Model (BSTM).

Sketch Model - Transport Assessment of Alternative Patterns of Development for the Wide Bay Burnett

Transport Modelling developed a Sketch model for the Wide Bay Burnett Region, analysed and reported on the transport infrastructure including Levels of Service, road safety, work location accessibility statistics, freight, public transport and environmental impacts for each alternative pattern of development (APOD). Tourist traffic was also investigated separately.

Sketch Model for Far North Queensland

This model is used to investigate the impacts of various settlement scenarios on the transport network for the region.

Figure 1: Sketch model plot for the Far North Queensland. The numbers in boxes are the zone numbers, the red bars are the population changes while the blue bars are the employment changes.

Strategic & Sketch Modelling

Median Treatment Study Wagga Wagga

Designed, developed and implemented the Wagga Wagga Traffic Model. This model jointly belongs to Wagga Wagga Council and RTA. Transport Modelling then used the model to analyse a potential median treatment on the Sturt Highway.

The median treatment would improve the flow on the highway which is particularly important for truck movement (significant in the rural areas), but the median treatment was also seen as restricting the north-south movements. Winners and losers were identified, both in quantum and geographical locations as well as cost benefit analyses undertaken.

The median treatment involved banning the right hand turning movements onto the Sturt Highway, which bisects the city of Wagga Wagga. This study divided the Sturt Highway into four sections throughout Wagga Wagga. Each section was analysed according to the expected time of implementation individually and as a whole to see what effect the closures would have on the traffic in the 2020, 2030 and 2040 networks.

Figure 1: Difference between traffic flows for the Base and Median Treatment of the Sturt Highway from Best Street to Docker St.

Strategic & Sketch Modelling
Modelling the effectiveness of Policy decisions

Scenario modelling I

The NSW Government commissioned a study to determine the ‘book-ends’ (upper and lower bounds) in the future land use/transport planning scenario. Transport Modelling and David Kilsby teamed up for this work. The work was carried out within the government offices using the Sydney Strategic Travel Model.

Alternative land use scenarios, road transport infrastructure and public transport schemes were tested. This project took longer than 6 months because so many options were tested.

Scenario Modelling II

This study was to update the first study and tested the more likely scenarios in more detail. Transport Modelling and Kilsby Australia teamed up again and revisited the earlier modelling work. More conservative options for land use, and investments in road and rail infrastructure were tested. A new scenario was also investigated which suggested concentrating both population and employment growth in the Parramatta Road corridor and funding investment for transport improvements in this corridor.

In all, the second study included more than 25 model runs. All these runs were reported. More than 70 Key Performance Indicators were extracted from each run.

The two major modelling tasks developed:

  • a system that tracked all the input files and its updates, and
  • automated the reporting system that included the summary-of-summaries, summary and the detailed data.

Olympic Games Bid modelling

Early in his career Paul worked within the NSW Government where he modelled for the 1996 Sydney Olympics Games bid, while his colleague also worked for the Victorian Government on their bid. Neither Sydney nor Melbourne was successful. However, sometime later, when Paul started his own company and his colleague also worked in private enterprise, they were put together to model the successful Sydney 2000 Olympics bid.

Both Paul and his colleague had a wealth of modelling experience, and both had solved similar Olympic modelling issues. These issues range from estimating the number of gates of the main stadium, pin-pointing the bus fleet requirements, issues of bus fleet dead-running, special requirements for VIP etc. to modelling the bottlenecks in the transport network and ways of circumventing these bottle necks. Paul had the advantage of working in his home town.

Model conversions

All the modern software packages are so powerful that few modellers ever use every available feature in the software package. In fact, many modellers may not be aware of some of the advanced features which are available in their transport modelling software package.

Converting transport models from one software package to another is typically done when the transport modelling software is old and not regularly updated, or if some particular compelling feature is not available in the existing software package. The actual conversion work requires a more thorough understanding of the old and new software packages, as well as skills in converting data files from one format into another.

Transport Modelling has converted the following models:

  • A TranPlan based model to run under Emme. The challenging aspect of converting the trip distribution model was written as an external module in FORTRAN. These FORTRAN programs were also converted to Emme macros.
  • TransCad based model to run under Emme
  • A TRACKS based model to run under Emme
  • Team members to convert a TRACKS based transport model to run under CUBE voyager

Transport Modelling has used all the main-stream strategic transport modelling packages such as Emme, TRIPS and TRANPLAN now part of Citilab’s Cube suite of modelling programs, TRACKS is a transport modelling software package from New Zealand: TRAMS (Perth), TRANSCEND (Brisbane) and TRANSTEP (Canberra).

Over the years Paul has had personal contact with many of the developers of the SATURN, TranPlan, MVA’s TRIPS, Gabites Porter’s TRACKS, and INRO’s Emme and Dynameq software packages.

In every case, developers have been very keen to share the intimate detailed knowledge of the finer aspects of their software package. Often they were very happy to share the challenges faced as the software designer, as well as the issues of the model’s application to real life modelling tasks.

Sydney South West - Bringelly

The south west of Sydney is planned to accommodate the future urban development of a very large population, approximately the size of Canberra.

Over the years, Paul has modelled this development 6 times, each for different clients, but in every case the Sydney Strategic Travel Model was used, and always within the NSW offices. Many different land use scenarios and transport options have been tested. The NSW government is now building the rail line into the area.

Hunter Region Model – Southern Bypass

The New England Highway dissects the Maitland Local Government Area. It carries both local and through traffic. Maitland City Council had been lobbying the NSW State Government for either the upgrading of the New England Highway or the building of the ‘Southern Bypass’. Therefore Maitland City Council wanted to explore the traffic impacts of a ‘Southern Bypass’ around the most densely populated urban areas.

At that time, the State Government was planning for the Hunter Expressway. There were some differences in opinion about the impacts of the Hunter Expressway on the sections of the New England Highway which traverse through the urban areas of Maitland.

Our modelling showed that the traffic travelling on the Hunter Expressway was only a small component of the overall traffic on the New England Highway, and that a significant reduction would be achieved if the ‘Southern Bypass’ was built.

Figure 2: Select link showing westbound traffic flow on Raymond terrace Rd.

Strategic & Sketch Modelling

Image used with permission from Maitland Council.

Figure 3: Difference plot showing the preferred F3 scenario compared with the do nothing scenario for the Maitland Southern Bypass. Yellow represents less traffic while blue represents more traffic.

Strategic & Sketch Modelling

The NSW government is constructing the Hunter Express. Only time will tell who is correct in their modelling work.

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