Integrated Transport Centre (ITC), Abu Dhabi
Siemens Mobility, Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Emirate, UAE
November 2020 – May 2023
Aimsun and Siemens won the ITC Abu Dhabi Certificate of Appreciation for “distinguished practices in project execution”
Aimsun Project Lead, Oliver Capon, was awarded the ITC Abu Dhabi Certificate of Excellence for “outstanding efforts and valuable contribution to accomplishing the tasks in 2021 in the distinguished employee category”
ITC Abu Dhabi required a future-proof model framework with multiple levels of assignment and simulation.
The Hybrid Simulation Model will enhance ITC’s modeling capabilities, adding a tiered simulation model alongside the strategic demand model within the STEAM+ framework.
The Hybrid Simulation Model allows rapid simulation of specific network areas, and accurate representation of congestion, flow metering, ITC’s technology interventions, bus priority assessment and LRT delays at junctions.
Additionally, dynamic linkages to the ITC Data Warehouse will allow rapid modeling of specific days based on the latest count and movement data.
At the Abu Dhabi Integrated Transport Centre (ITC), the availability of new data has driven rapid advancements for the existing Strategic Transportation Evaluation and Assessment Model (STEAM).
STEAM is now STEAM+, a ground-breaking transport modelling framework, which integrates the original strategic modelling approach with new Aimsun hybrid mesoscopic-microscopic models and near-real-time simulation.
The ITC is linking big datasets including day-to-day anonymized mobile phone tracking, water/electricity consumption by household, live bus, and taxi fleets, building and plot level municipal data, as well as a comprehensive population and employment data set. This is a hugely ambitious project on a never-before-attempted scale, covering the entire Abu Dhabi Emirate.
The new multi-tiered STEAM+ Framework allows assessment of schemes ranging from specific intersections to large infrastructure studies, transit corridors and policy tests. It complements the current regional strategic model with more detailed, dynamic assessment of flow metering at junctions, traffic queuing, ITS and emerging technologies, bus priority schemes and light rail (LRT) delays at junctions.
The three pillars of the STEAM+ Framework are the big data warehouse, the multi-tiered model, and the visualization tool, as shown in the diagram below.
The model covers the entire Abu Dhabi Emirate, an area spanning 67,000 square kilometers with a population of approximately 3 million.
The area has a hugely diverse range of infrastructure and development, from rural highways and towns to the inland city of Al Ain, and the emirate capital city of Abu Dhabi including the central business district.
The coded network allows rapid development of local area simulations within the same software, using a single network representation, together with consistent simulated travel behavior and routing. This offers major advantages in speed and consistency when compared with creation of independent local networks in multiple packages.
Aimsun’s role was to develop and calibrate the model network, demand model linkages, and dynamic linkages to the Data Warehouse.
The highly detailed transport network was derived from the comprehensive Navigable Road Network (NRN) dataset. This representation of the transport infrastructure was further refined using aerial imagery and CAD and supplemented with detailed information on traffic signal operations.
Explicit representations of the traffic signal control cycles, and the variation in plans over the day and day type, were coded into the model, using detailed data provided by the Traffic Management Centre.
The consistency with and linkage to the demand model ensures transferability of information between models and avoids competing and potentially conflicting representations and outputs.
The Hybrid Simulation Model is dynamically linked to the ITC’s newly developed Data Warehouse. This dynamic link allows fresh count data and trip origin-destination data to be input directly into the model for simulation. Results are evaluated by automatic validation plots.
Ongoing support is included in the solution to ensure successful knowledge handover and plan the future road map for the model framework.
The Hybrid Simulation Model within STEAM+ provides ITC with a framework for testing schemes and interventions with the appropriate level of detail within much reduced timeframes and with a consistent model representation.
Another benefit is visualization of the road traffic, which is key for communicating results to stakeholders and the general public.
The dynamic link between the model and the Data Warehouse allows accurate simulation of specific days or special periods, such as Ramadan. It also simplifies model updates and transfer of detailed information from the Hybrid Simulation Model to the Demand Model.
A close working relationship between Aimsun, ITC, and other stakeholders ensured that the best use was made of the wide range of datasets that were available for the study and that processes were repeatable.
Aimsun processes allowed a data-driven derivation of different demand patterns for different types of day. Inventive use of automation procedures and scripting enabled processing of this quantity of information and maintenance of close linkages to the demand model.
For the Pan Am Games, the MTO needed a tool to test and optimize the network capacity – the aim was to provide quick and unobstructed travel between the sports venues for the Games athletes, workforce and spectators, whilst minimizing disruption to local road networks.