Safe Transportation Research & Education Center
Applying UrbanSim to Transportation Issues in Cities
- Author(s): Foti, Fletcher
- et al.
UrbanSim(link is external) is a software-based simulation system for supporting planning and analysis of urban development, incorporating the interactions between land use, transportation, the economy, and the environment. It is the result of over 15 years of active research, and has been applied to planning processes of over a dozen regional governments and large cities. Recent improvements to UrbanSim include an accessibility engine to compute walking-scale accessibility metrics over a metropolitan area in less than a second, and the ability to run real estate pro formas on the complete set of parcels in a region to understand real estate development feasibility the way a developer might. The new methodology has also received interest from the travel modeling community, and a consortium of regions has funded a pilot to create an activity-based travel model using the same core framework.
Synthicity(link is external) will be releasing UrbanCanvas publicly in spring 2015. UrbanCanvas is a 3D urban design platform that allows the editing of proposed developments which can be used to create scenario inputs to UrbanSim, as well as to view UrbanSim outputs as prototypical buildings. Synthicity hopes that UrbanCanvas can become a transformative technology that allows planners and citizens to weigh in on proposed developments early enough in the process to positively affect social, economic, environmental, and aesthetic outcomes of future population and economic growth.