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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
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Analysis Modeling and Simulation (AMS)




FHWA and its State and local agency partners historically have relied on modeling tools to support their planning and analysis responsibilities. Although current models at the planning, mesoscopic (intermediate), and microscopic levels have generally served their original purpose, there is an increasing need for FHWA and its partners to analyze transportation from multiple levels. Analyses of strategies to reduce greenhouse gases and emissions, for example, require examination at all levels because operational improvements on individual streets or corridors can affect route choice (a mesoscopic model output) and even change travel behavior by shifting the time of a trip or whether the trip is taken at all (planning model outputs assess demand effects, including induced or latent demand).

Models developed to serve in one of these levels, or domains, cannot easily or accurately link across domains. Also, additional data requirements limit the capability of agencies to address emerging issues and develop sustainable transportation solutions. The AMS study area was developed to address these limitations by establishing methods for agencies to do the following:

  • Link models from different domains.
  • Use new virtual access methods to share critical data needed to use models.
  • Improve the fundamental human choice logic within models.
  • Address an important gap in mesoscopic models used to analyze tolling strategies.


The variety of human-related factors identifies the need for crosscutting research to support robust, reliable, and affordable models in many areas within FHWA spurred by the crosscutting approach needed for better, more accurate models, FHWA organized the Analysis and Modeling Symposium.

The symposium allowed offices dependent on tools within FHWA to identify their current and projected requirements for models, expected gaps and needs, and shared interests. The effort culminated in a workshop where representatives of diverse offices within FHWA identified specific areas of research needed to address the highest priorities of the Agency for modeling and simulation. Three of the highest rated projects were funded to advance the state of the art in AMS tools and capabilities.

The three projects will enable a multifaceted approach with more accurate and cost-effective transportation analysis to tackle common research needs. The projects included in the AMS subject area will:

  • Advance national data access tools and capabilities.
  • Enable integration of analysis tools and models across scales and domains to more accurately and efficiently conduct analysis
  • More accurately define driver behavior characteristics under specific operational conditions to improve analysis capability and results.


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Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101