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Open Access Publications from the University of California

SmartBRT: A Tool for Simulating, Visualizing, and Evaluating Bus Rapid Transit Systems

  • Author(s): VanderWerf, Joel
  • et al.

Evaluation of BRT systems

SmartBRT is for designed for modeling and simulating hypothetical transit systems,

especially those making use of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) technologies and policies.

SmartBRT can be used to evaluate new technologies and policies that haven't been fully

explored in deployed systems.

SmartBRT does not output emissions or cost data. SmartBRT does not calculate the longterm

effects of BRT deployment, such as changes in mode choice.

To aid in evaluation, SmartBRT provides features for data gathering and statistics. The

model report has a complete list of variables that can be measured and aggregated.

Evaluation of Transit systems

SmartBRT can also be used to evaluate traditional transit system designs. Paramics and

other traffic simulation tools have some ability to do this kind of work. However,

SmartBRT has an advantage even in cases without any BRT elements: in situations where

input data is sparse, there is a corresponding reduction in the effort to specify the system.

For instance, if all signal phase structures are hypothetically the same, the same

description does not need to be repeated for each signal.


Simulation outputs can be used to produce 3D animations. The animated world can be

edited to show recognizable landmarks based on digital photographs. However, Paramics

was not designed to model vehicle movement with high precision, and so vehicle

movement in the animation may not always be realistic.

Applicability of Paramics

We determined that Paramics has some serious limitations for use in simulating BRT.

These limitations are discussed in Paramics limitations and problems, section 3.4 of the

model report.

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