New Software Program to Help Clean Up Latin American Traffic

In a talk that appealed to computer geeks, policy wonks and transport engineers alike, Prof. Toni Lindau, EMBARQ’s CTS-Brasil Director, discussed his new “Microscopic Bus Rapid Transit Simulator.”

Prof. Lindau presented his innovative software tool at EMBARQ’s “Transforming Transportation” event, held as part of the TRB’s annual meeting in Washington, DC. Lindau described how the Windows-based program allows transportation planners to simulate various Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) alternatives within Latin American cities. Specifically, the software helps evaluate BRT routes and traffic flows, detect and correct potential problems, and train system designers, managers, and operators. Because the software simulates conditions before any actual construction has begun, it saves valuable time and money at each point along a project timeline.

BRT Simulator screenshotUnlike many conventional simulation models, Prof. Lindau’s software has been specifically designed with both BRT and Latin America in mind. As a result, the new software can more accurately predict the potential pitfalls of a proposed BRT plan under the infamous traffic conditions of metropolises like Mexico City or Bogotá.

One of the most attention-grabbing features of the new program is its ability to integrate with Google Earth’s satellite imagery (see the accompanying screenshot). Using this feature, planners can run simulations on top of actual satellite photographs of the city.

Background: CTS-Brasil and EMBARQ began collaborating on the BRT simulator in April 2005. This initiative is part of a larger EMBARQ-led project to improve the quality and productivity of Brazilian mass transit, and to promote the use of low emissions fuels, cleaner technologies, and non-motorized transport in the country.

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