A practical perspective on the benefits of combined traffic assignment and control models
As the nation’s traffic system becomes more congested for various periods of the day, more research in the area of intelligent transportation systems is needed. Traditional solutions of adding more highways and widening the existing system are not feasible anymore due to rapidly increasing demand and lack of room for expansion. The national interest is therefore focused on congestion mitigation methods that promote efficient use of existing infrastructure. Some of the key aspects of congestion management techniques include Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) elements. These ITS elements can play a role in drivers’ interaction, route choice, and traffic controls. Combined Traffic Assignment and Control (CTAC) framework-based models can capture the ITS elements- based control-driver interaction in traffic systems.
The CTAC method has been the topic of scientific research for the last three decades. Several solution algorithms, model formulations, and implementation efforts have been well documented. Although proven in research, the use of the combined traffic assignment and control modeling framework is rare in practice. Typically, the engineering practice tends to keep Traffic Assignment and Control Optimization processes separate. By doing so, the control-driver interaction in the traffic system is ignored. Previous research found that CTAC models could capture the control-driver interaction and the combined modeling framework should be used in practice.