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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations




Problem: Engineers need a tool for unifying planning and operations analyses

Historically, traffic and transportation engineers have treated network planning and operational analyses as two distinct functions. In recent years, however, the use of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) to plan and operate the Nation's transportation network has increased. In addition, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) requires transportation planners to promote efficient system management and operations as part of the transportation planning process. Due largely to these changing demands, engineers face an increasing need for tools that unify planning and operations analyses in a single, dynamic format.


Solution: DYNASMART-P is a state-of-the-art dynamic network traffic planning tool

DYNASMART-P is a dynamic traffic assignment analysis tool that operates on recent versions of Microsoft Windows. Transportation engineers and planners can use DYNASMART-P to address complex and dynamic transportation operations and planning issues, particularly in the ITS context.

DYNASMART-P overcomes the limitations of traditional static assignment and simulation models by using advanced traffic modeling techniques to capture the dynamics of congestion formation and dissipation associated with timevarying demands and network conditions. It represents a new generation of traffic analysis tools to support transportation network operations and planning decisions.

Potential applications of DYNASMART-P include:

  • Providing dynamic traffic assignment methods for traditional transportation planning analyses.

  • Assessing the impacts of ITS technologies, such as dynamic message signs, ramp meters, and invehicle guidance systems, on the transportation network.

  • Assessing the impacts of different traffic operations and control strategies.

  • Supporting decisionmaking for regional work zone management.

  • Evaluating incident management and special event management strategies.

  • Evaluating congestion-pricing schemes.

  • Providing information to support integrated transportation corridor investment decisions.

  • Helping to improve estimates of mobile source emissions.

While DYNASMART-P can be used in a variety of applications, the technology does have several limitations. For example, DYNASMART-P:

  • Cannot model detailed traffic maneuvers, such as car-following, lane-changing, and weaving operations, and cannot analyze complex emergency transportation management strategies.

  • Includes only limited transit and intermodal modeling capabilities. Future versions of DYNASMART-P, however, will be better able to perform this type of modeling.

Putting It in Perspective

To assist with the integration of planning and operations, the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) Offices of Operations and Planning have established a joint program titled Planning for Operations to address regionwide and/or statewide operations and planning issues.

The goals of the joint program are (1) to enhance the planning and operations to improve and strengthen the key institutional underpinnings and linkages that will be needed for effective transportation systems management and operations in the 21st Century, and (2) to enhance planning and process so that investments in operations provide regional benefit, when possible, and are on par with investments made in construction and preservation. DYNASMART-P can play a key role in this transition.


  • Analyzes dynamic traffic demand and traffic management strategies.

  • Produces detailed operations data and graphical animation for regionwide operations planning analyses.

  • Assists planners in evaluating ITS projects.

  • Produces realistic traffic operations data for air quality analyses.

  • Helps to assess impacts of different work zone management strategies, which have regional significance.


Successful Applications: DYNASMART-P helps across the Nation

DYNASMART-P has been used in successful applications across the country. For example, transportation planners and engineers have used DYNASMART-P to:

  • Develop traffic management strategies for major highway reconstruction projects in Zwolle, a city in the Netherlands.

  • Evaluate downtown traffic and environmental impacts of one- and two-way traffic flow reconfigurations. This project used a combination of DYNASMART-P and CORSIM, a comprehensive microscopic traffic simulation model.

  • Undertake a pilot study to apply dynamic traffic assignment to next-generation urban transportation planning in the El Paso, TX, region.


National Deployment Statement

By using DYNASMART-P, engineers and planners are able to integrate travel demand models into the transportation planning process to produce more realistic traffic operations data for air quality analyses. In addition, engineers and planners who use DYNASMART-P will be better able to evaluate ITS technologies and will be able to simultaneously address operations and planning issues.


National Deployment Goal

The FY08 goal is to have 10 State DOTs/Planning agencies and MPOs use DYNASMART-P as a tool to evaluate Operations/ITS improvements


National Deployment Status

The goals for FY08 are on schedule. As of March 2008, there were six States and two MPO Applications of Dynasmart-P. Marketing Plans have been developed. Webinars have been conducted. Planning and follow up meetings are schedule. Three Workshops for planners showcasing IDAS, DYNASMART-P and SCRITS have taken place. Additionally two training workshops on DYNASMART-P have been taken place.


Phase of Deployment

PHASE III-Delivery Activities

  • Face-to-face communication
  • Conduct presentations
  • Conduct pilot
  • Conduct training and education
  • Public/ private partnerships


Additional Resources

More information is available at the DYNASMART-P Web site at http://www.dynasmart.com.


For More Information Contact:

Randall Vangorder
randall,vangorder@dot.gov, 202-493-3273;

Edward Fok
edward.fok@dot.gov, 708-283-3541


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