U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations
|This fact sheet is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information|
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-04-088
Date: June 2005
Trel Fact Sheet
PDF version of Fact Sheet (620 KB)
Research that is Essential, Indispensable, and Connected to our Customers.
Manager: Randall VanGorder (Randall.VanGorder@dot.gov)
The Traffic Research Laboratory (TReL) is a unique combination of advanced hardware and software systems that can be used by researchers and practicing traffic engineers to assess and evaluate the impact of various combinations of advanced technologies, strategies, and policies prior to field installation. State-of-the-art traffic research and development of these systems are conducted in the laboratory. Additionally, the laboratory provides an experimental test bed and analysis toolbox to facilitate the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA's) Research and Development (R&D) program in Intelligent Transportation System (ITS).
TReL contains the visualization, simulation, communication, and control capabilities needed to effectively conduct traffic engineering R&D. The laboratory affords researchers the ability to conduct innovative real-time, hardware-in-the-loop evaluations and studies. Researchers at TReL develop and evaluate prototype adaptive traffic control systems that are being evaluated and demonstrated in field trials.
The Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center (TFHRC) Intelligent Intersection is connected to TReL via a fiber optic communications link that supports full integration of the two research facilities. This is an example of how TReL uses a controlled environment to test prototype systems prior to field trials. The Intelligent Intersection's advanced sensors and simulated Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) wireless communications provide powerful tools enabling the TReL staff to assist in the integration and testing of vehicle-infrastructure integration, advanced infrastructure-based sensing technology, infrastructure-based safety threat assessment processing, and integration of the Cooperative Intersection Collision Avoidance System (CICAS) systems with both legacy and emerging traffic control technology.
In addition to the Intelligent Intersection, a Road Weather Information Station (RWIS) and a Global Positioning System Surface Observation System (GSOS) are being integrated with TReL allowing the staff to expand and initiate research in support of the Road Weather Management program.
The Traffic Software Integrated System (TSIS) is a suite of traffic analysis tools used to assess the impact of transportation improvements to a network. The traffic simulation model CORSIM, contained within the TSIS suite, is the core of the studies and evaluations conducted at TReL. CORSIM simulates traffic and traffic control conditions on combined surface streets and freeway networks. It generates a wide range of operational and environmental measures of effectiveness to quantify the performance of a traffic network.
Researchers at TReL utilize CORSIM to evaluate traditional and advanced traffic management systems and strategies, geometric design alternatives, and the effect of traffic incidents and events. They also refine, develop, and evaluate CORSIM algorithms.
TReL provides the simulation tools needed to test and evaluate Real-Time Adaptive Traffic Control Systems (ACS) algorithms under a wide range of geometric and traffic conditions. Results of the TReL evaluations have been used to select, refine, and finalize the adaptive control strategies used in the field-testing and implementation of ACS.
Collectively, these activities and capabilities enable the Office of Operations R&D to effectively conduct research and provide guidance for the integration and deployment of advanced traffic operations and management systems, as well as other ITS components.
Developing and maintaining the enabling technology is the key to the Operations R&D program. TReL makes it possible.
To conduct ITS/Operations investigations, develop solutions, refine concepts, and facilitate the transfer of R&D products from the laboratory to the field. To fulfill the research, development, testing, and evaluation initiatives in support of the ITS/Operations R&D program.
To advance the state-of-the-art and the state-of-the-practice in ITS/Operations through the use of an advanced traffic research laboratory.
TReL is a computer simulation lab outfitted with a collection of advanced traffic analysis software (traffic simulation, signal optimization, adaptive control, etc.), integrated with a system of traffic control and other hardware.
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
TReL combines the expertise of traffic engineers, system engineers, and computer science professionals with experience in traffic research, highway safety, algorithm development, traffic simulation, system design, model development, and ITS.
Publication No. FHWA-HRT-04-088
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