Arlington, VA. — PricewaterhouseCoopers, the world’s largest professional services organization, announced that it will work with the Los Alamos National Laboratory to develop a user-friendly software package that will enable state and local government planning agencies to adopt a ground-breaking transportation-planning system created by the laboratory to ease traffic congestion and air pollution.
Under a contract with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, PricewaterhouseCoopers will package for commercial sale and further develop the user-interface of the Transportation Analysis and Simulation System (TRANSIMS) software program. TRANSIMS was developed by the Los Alamos laboratory at a cost of $25 million during the past six years, under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
TRANSIMS is a traffic simulation software package that simulates the movements of individual vehicles on a regional transportation network and estimates air pollution emissions generated by vehicle movements. The software provides regional planners a synthetic population’s daily activity patterns, such as travel to work and recreation.
“User-friendliness is a critical aspect of the TRANSIMS commercialization initiative,” said Mike Bridges, who leads PricewaterhouseCoopers’ team on the project. “We intend to transform TRANSIMS technologies into a product that is routinely used by transportation planners. To do that, TRANSIMS needs to be easy to use and generate outputs that are useful to metropolitan planning organization staffs and other transportation decision-makers and stakeholders.”
The TRANSIMS software was developed using technology created for national security purposes. The system originally was designed to run on multiple computer workstations but has been adapted to perform over a parallel computing system to accommodate different computer systems used by city and state planners. The system uses travel information derived from actual census and survey data for specific tracts in target cities, providing a more accurate sense of the movements and daily routines of real people as they negotiate a full day with various transportation options available to them.
PricewaterhouseCoopers will work with the Los Alamos laboratory to develop further the TRANSIMS user interface system and to package TRANSIMS software to create a version that is more readily usable by state and local planning agencies. The packaged software is expected to be available in early 2002.
“TRANSIMS provides transportation planners with a synthetic population’s daily activity patterns, such as travel to work, to shop, and to recreation, and simulates the movements of individual vehicles on a regional transportation network, and estimates the air pollution emissions generated by those vehicle movements,” said Christopher Barrett, director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Technology and Safety Assessment Division. “The purpose of the contract with PricewaterhouseCoopers is to take the existing TRANSIMS software and develop user-friendly versions that are sensitive to the different needs of metropolitan planning organizations.”
The Los Alamos laboratory developed the basic design and software architecture for TRANSIMS and, as part of the Lab’s ongoing research and development efforts, has tested the model and its application for two transportation-planning organizations – the North Central Texas Council of Governments, the regional planning agency for the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area; and the Portland, Ore., Metropolitan Service District.
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