Converting Shape Files for use with Paramics

A cost share project funded by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)

Project Summary

Traffic microsimulation modeling software such as Quadstone’s Paramics® has considerable potential in improving transportation planning, operations and emergency management. However it requires extremely detailed data on road geometry, structure (number of lanes), speed limits, etc, as well as demand and trip generation. The potential of these tools is limited by the availability and quality of the input data, and this is currently a real impediment to the widespread use and benefit of microsimulation.

In many cases the requisite data do exist in various DOT offices. Road geometry is traditionally created and stored in computer-assisted drafting (CAD) files with local coordinate systems; for planning purposes, road centerlines are usually re-surveyed and stored in geographic information system (GIS) files, typically tied to regional or global coordinate systems (e.g. latitude-longitude, state plane or Universal Transverse Mercator, UTM). Paramics treats road sections as straight line segments or circular arcs — these are amenable to modeling driver response to curvature, but the geometric representations are so different from those used in CAD and GIS files that they are incompatible. Consequently road geometry files for Paramics are re-created by laborious manual effort.

The objective of this project is to facilitate the translation of files from ESRI's ArcView format to Paramics. The principal deliverable of this project is a software tool, nicknamed S2P (Shapefile to Paramics), which inputs a GIS shape file, processes it according to user preferences, and outputs a set of files for Paramics. S2P outputs will have to be edited in some areas, where there are unusual street configurations, or where there are data errors or unusual coding practices in the GIS file. This is partly due to the inevitable disconnect between multipurpose GIS files, which are available on a continuum of scale and accuracy, and Paramics needs, which require a specific scale and accuracy level. Many GIS files contain insufficient detail; some of the high end products may contain too much detail.

Code (for Windows®)

Sample data

Note that by default, S2P is configured to work with GDT files. Appropriate field names are set in the initialization file, S2P.INI, packaged with the code. Some of the following are GDT extracts, some are not. Non-GDT files require different initialization (INI) files to be loaded using the File|Load Alternate INI command in S2P. It is recommended that you download each data set to a separate directory, with its corresponding INI file. The default S2P.INI in the executable folder can then be left unmodified.

Final Report

Final Report describes product design issues in detail, and includes a test report by UC Berkeley