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Modeling the Urban Continuum in an Integrated Framework: Location Choice, Activity-Travel Behavior, and Dynamic Traffic Patterns

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Overall Integration Plan

This project is designed to create an integrated urban model system that deals both with the internal dynamics of daily activity and travel and with the longer-term choices of households, firms and real estate developers. It is intended to support integrated planning applications over 30 year horizons, by accounting for the impacts of transportation interventions that include roadway and transit capacity, pricing policies and even operations, on the one hand, as well as land use regulations and policies to shape land uses such as transit oriented development and redevelopment policies, on the other.

There are multiple potential uses for the integrated model system. Supporting long-range transportation planning is a minimum requirement. But in addition, it should be adaptable to support corridor planning, alternatives analysis for roadway or transit investments, as well as shorter-term traffic and transit operational planning. Over the longer-term it should also support exploration of strategies to reduce GHG emissions, energy consumption, and address problems related to excessive urban sprawl. Different applications will require different configurations of the combined model system, coordinating the land use component (UrbanSim), activity-based travel component (AMOS) and the dynamic traffic (MALTA) and transit (TrAM) components.

In order to support this flexibility, we have proposed to tie these together using the Open Platform for Urban Simulation (OPUS) software infrastructure. It provides the following capabilities that will support the integrated model system, and which will be further extended within this project:

  • Python implementation that provides excellent support for interfacing diverse component models in Python, C and C++
  • Run management infrastructure to support scheduling and executing runs that involve running UrbanSim annually, and handling the exchange of data with travel models which can be run every year or less frequently. In this project, the travel model components will be run annually, for one representative day (we should discuss whether we want to run them for longer periods such as a week).
  • Full configuration of models, specifications, and run-time arguments provided in the form of XML - based configuration files.
  • A Graphical User Interface implemented in Qt4, and with full control and specification of XML based configurations.
  • Support for interfacing with Numpy arrays in memory and on disk, and translation to and from a variety of DBMS systems including Postgres, MySQL, SQLite, in addition to ASCII CSV and tab-delimited files, XML, and other formats.
  • Support for running component models on different machines.
  • Support for Windows, Linux and OS X platforms.
The current plan for the integration is that we would define the configuration of a combined model system for a scenario to be run, and this configuration would be stored in an OPUS configuration file for a scenario. The xml file contains all the arguments necessary to instantiate the UrbanSim and AMOS models, and to interface with MALTA and TrAM, as well as information configuring the interfacing of the models. With the xml configuration fully defined, the 'scenario' can be launched either from the command line or from within the OPUS GUI. A Run Management database adds an entry for the launched simulation run, which could be delegated to different machines to simulate all together or to distribute, as per the configuration information. In other words, the configuration can define whether MALTA will be run in MPI mode on a cluster computer with N cpu's, and how AMOS will be assigned to one or more machines, etc. Details of the interfacing of the models are in the Software section below.

Model System Inputs and Outputs


Data Structures


Documents and Other Attachments

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Topic revision: r9 - 17 Feb 2010 - 09:10:57 - LimingWang
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