PTV Group celebrates 30th anniversary of the PTV Vissim traffic simulation software

The PTV Group – part of Umovity – is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its PTV Vissim software.

This integrated simulation of all road users has already contributed to improved traffic flow and lower emissions in more than 120 countries. The software considers both regional and cultural differences in mobility behaviour.

In addition to offering a wide range of control options for traffic signals, this solution models various traffic scenarios, integrating into existing systems, serving a variety of transportation needs, from multi-modal traffic to emerging public transport systems like urban cable cars, and accommodating automated and connected driving. The solution’s developers are marking its anniversary with a social media campaign that includes their perspectives from the initial stages and more.

PTV Vissim maps traffic digitally – including all road users, from pedestrians and cyclists to cars and public transport vehicles. Transport planners and engineers use the software to demonstrate the performance of traffic systems via simulation, to improve it, and compare alternatives – before expensive construction is undertaken. The results provide a comprehensive and clear foundation for making planning decisions based on metrics and analyses. This way, it is possible to approach traffic problems such as traffic jams and the reduction of emissions proactively.

The core of the basic solution developed in 1993 was a visualization under Windows 3.1. It could be used to simulate vehicles of different types reacting to each other and to traffic lights. With the system, early users could optimize signal controls, examine intersection layouts, arrange priority of public transport, and see the effects of these measures right on the screen. This allowed them to find optimal solutions right from the start. Today, the software includes multimodal traffic flow simulation with a high degree of detail, including the simulation of autonomous, networked vehicles, all in an appealing 3D visualization. A multitude of analysis options and open interfaces allows flexible deployment to answer all conceivable questions relating to mobility. Analyses of mobility of individual road users are of critical significance precisely for achieving climate goals.

Matthias Pfriem, Senior Product Manager, PTV Group describes two application cases: “Of course our Vissim team especially remembers the optimisation of transport planning for Transport for London for the Olympic Games in 2012. The big challenge was to make such an extensive sporting event possible in the “giant organism” of the city. We were very proud that we could make a significant contribution to the smooth operation. The topic of crowd management is also exciting. With Vissim and Viswalk, which is specially calibrated for streams of people, we helped the organisers of the mega-event ‘Das Fest’ in Karlsruhe several times. Fundamentally,” Priem explains, “you shouldn’t even be aware of our background contribution to traffic planning. Everything operates as intended in reality due to the testing conducted in simulations.”

“We are rightly proud of the development of this software solution and its extensive usages in cities and communities, but also in research and teaching in the last three decades,” says Christian U. Haas, CEO of the PTV Group – part of Umovity. “All of us, not just our customers, will profit from improved traffic flows and reduced emissions, as will our environment.” More than 16,500 users and countless investments in the infrastructure thus contribute to a balanced mobility ecosystem around the world.

The current version of the simulation software includes precise emissions calculations created by Bosch and makes the effects of transport measures on emissions visible right away.

As an accompanying campaign with special personal contributions, long-time PTV developers and product managers are sharing their own history of the software through pictures and the limited Vissim t-shirt on social media using the hashtag “#Vissim30years.”

(Picture – PTV Group – part of Umovity)


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