PTV Vissim is well known as the world’s most advanced and flexible traffic simulation software. But it can also be an amazing digital playground. Jochen Lohmiller, the Principal Product Manager for Micro Simulation Mobility at PTV Group, once built a themed Lego model for the 50th birthday of a co-worker. And guess what – everybody loved it! So, the idea was born to start a creative city modelling contest in December 2020: the #ShapeItWithVissim challenge.

How would you shape the city or traffic scenario of your dreams if there weren’t any limitations? Based on this question, PTV Vissim users from all over the world got very creative. They submitted numerous videos – from Santa and his reindeers to Super Mario, from the desert to Mars. Every single video was amazing, that’s why we did a little compilation:

“I normally use PTV Vissim for traffic consultancy. It’s an indispensable tool for traffic impact analysis and transportation studies in my work”, says Mustafa Gürdal, whose video “The future of the past” was awarded the first prize of the contest. The city planner from Ankara / Turkey adds: “It was the first time I used PTV Vissim with such a futuristic idea.”

For Harsh Mer, a transportation engineering student from Ahmedabad, India, building the themed model for the competition was one of his favorite projects – apart from his dissertation. “I use PTV Vissim almost every day. The advantage of the PTV tool compared to other microsimulation software solutions is that PTV Vissim has the capability of calibrating and validating Indian heterogeneous driving behavior!”, he says.

Emma Jiang from Shanghai loves playing Lego as well. She modeled her dream integrated Lego town for the #ShapeItWithVissim challenge. As a traffic planner, she uses PTV Vissim frequently in transport planning projects or transit-oriented development projects. One of her recent projects was a simulation of the Macau Port and Zhuhai Port in the northeast of Macao. She explains: “It’s a very complex and interesting model. There are many traffic modes such as taxis, private cars, city buses, different sizes of freight vehicles, etc. In the year 2036, the forecasted passenger volume is 408,000 people a day, the traffic volume is 22,888 cars, 5,400 buses, and 18,295 trucks a day. Through the testing and scenarios, our transport planning team was able to provide many useful optimum suggestions to the client.”

For Emma, the biggest advantage of simulation tools is that you can test several options in the early stage – with a positive impact on society and the environment: “We trust the performance and stability of PTV Vissim because it has decades of solid research and always incorporates the latest findings.”

Being a traffic engineer in the US city of Baltimore, John Li uses PTV models for traffic simulation and operational analysis: “PTV Vissim stands out in several areas, such as COM interface, user-friendliness compared to other traffic simulation tools. For me, since I am a programmer who likes to automate things, I like Vissim’s open file format, which opens the door to do so many things, like the VHelper tool I developed.” For the PTV city modelling challenge, John built a mars expedition.

Sean Fitzgerel is associate director for agent-based modeling in Ireland and uses PTV software for operational planning. Currently, he is working on bus/bike priority analysis projects in Dublin but has done many exciting projects with PTV Vissim. One of his favorites is a 90,000 sq meter model of  Belgrade airport, that he did in 2019/2020. “We simulated all the processes from check-in to boarding (ticketing, bag check, passport, x-ray, bathrooms, boarding queues), and vice versa with arrivals. To my knowledge it’s the craziest airport model attempted so far in Vissim/Viswalk”, he states.

Tools like PTV Vissim are absolutely imperative for modern city planning, he says: “Spreadsheet and strategic planning are good for broad ideas, but it’s amazing how much detail you can get on a scheme and change minds just by showing a Vissim simulation to clients and stakeholders.“

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the #ShapeItWithVissim Challenge 2020. It was a pleasure, and we are looking forward to the 2021 edition!

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