SigSim AnimationSignalized Intersection Simulation Program for Education 

A study by: Scott Washburn, Ph.D., University of Florida
(STRIDE Project 2012-076S - Signalized Intersection Simulation Program for Education)

In the “Introduction to Transportation Engineering” class, two of the most difficult topics for students to learn are often queuing theory and signal operation and analysis.  The large majority of today’s students are visual learners and active learning is proving to be a more effective teaching method than the traditional lecture.  This learning paradigm for students lends itself well to the use of computer software, particularly traffic simulation programs, to significantly enhance student education in transportation engineering. Nearly all traffic simulation software packages are designed for application (i.e., intended to be used by practitioners or researchers for specific applications), rather than illustrating the concepts and principles that lead to the outputs/results that are normally the primary interest of users of a software program.

Dr. Scott Washburn is working on a STRIDE-funded project entitled, “Signalized Intersection Simulation Program for Education,” to develop a signalized intersection microscopic simulation program that will lead to more effective and efficient learning of queuing theory and signalized intersection operation and analysis concepts focused on education. Furthermore, just as pedagogy is an important factor in the effectiveness of a textbook in facilitating student learning, it is an equally important factor in the effectiveness of a software program intended for student education.

With a well-designed signalized intersection simulation program that is focused on education and considers pedagogical issues, student interaction with the program through active-learning exercises will allow them to easily visualize the relationship between the various inputs (traffic demand, phase sequence, phase times, etc.) and performance measures (delay, queue length, etc.), which should lead to more efficient and effective student learning.

The program is in beta form and will be ready for student testing, feedback, and analysis in the summer and fall of 2014.

SigSim Inputs
SigSim Phasing and Timing