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Starting an Urban Mobility System with PTV Vistro

Why do you need an Urban Mobility System?

Entangled layers of urban mobility are increasing an agency’s need for micro- and macroscopic simulation tools.  Our city's need an interconnected urban mobility system.  This system consists of a ground-level deterministic traffic optimization tool paired with cutting-edge simulations.  Having this combined approach will achieve clarity and find solutions to your complex transportation problems in your city. Learn how to start an urban mobility system from your existing traffic signal optimization software.  I will show you how to start your system using PTV Vistro.  Here you can bring in OpenStreetMap data or Synchro models, then migrate over to PTV Visum. 

The demand for sophisticated modeling is increasing from the traditional year-based transportation plan evaluations.  Frequent use of high-end modeling addresses modern mobility challenges.  These challenges include balancing the needs of shared mobility, e-vehicle charging, curbside management, and autonomous vehicle planning. Today’s, small localized adjustments to a network in traffic signal optimization software may produce large unforeseen consequences.  These influences can impact specific new mobility modes or adjacent infrastructure.

Furthermore, advanced simulations heavily rely on detailed engineering information like traffic signal timings, lane configurations, geometries, and speeds.   Tedious efforts to create advanced simulation models from scratch or provide regular updates limit their practical use. Your traffic operations team regularly maintains detail information in traffic signal optimization software.  This daily upkeep requires the need for a self-maintaining urban mobility system.

Bridging the gap between Traffic Operations and Planning Teams

Streamline your next mobility challenge and work together with PTV Vistro and the Urban Mobility System.

Not surprisingly, there is a disconnect created between traffic operations and planning teams without a cohesive system in place. Often traffic signal optimization software platforms are incompatible with planning models.  Your traffic operations team produces numerous mini-projects as part of their daily workflow. The disconnect creates many unsynchronized changes not updated in the agency’s master planning model.  Updating the planning model after a string of changes leads to project cost increases and lost production time.

Starting your urban mobility system with PTV Vistro will bridge the gap between your agency’s traffic operations and planning departments.  And, PTV Vistro is the best traffic signal optimization software to keep your advanced simulation tools fit and ready for the next challenge.

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Using PTV Vistro as your Traffic Signal Optimization Software

Your first step starts with incorporating your network data into PTV Vistro.  This creates an integrated urban mobility system. PTV Vistro is a state-of-the-art traffic modeling tool made specifically for traffic operations engineers and planners.  Vistro’s core functionality is to evaluate urban traffic signal operations, green-band coordination, and scenario-based traffic impact analysis (TIA) studies.  With PTV Vistro, engineering-level information is quickly entered and maintained using efficient workflows. These workflows will help you to develop detailed traffic model geometry, peak-period traffic counts, and signal timing and coordination plans. 

Once your data is in Vistro, you can use PTV’s Traffic Suite as your ready-to-go urban mobility system.  Our system consists of PTV Visum for first-class macroscopic and mesoscopic modeling or PTV Vissim for exceptional microsimulation modeling.

Creating your Urban Mobility System using PTV Vistro

Starting from Scratch?

You don't have a model? No problem. Online video tutorials are in our PTV Vistro knowledge base for a quick start. First, in these videos, you will learn about Vistro’s easy to use GUI and industry-standard methodologies.  Next, you will learn how to set up your network with the built-in step-by-step workflows, including intersection setup, traffic volume, and traffic control.  Then, these videos will demonstrate PTV Vistro’s scenario and mitigation managers, trip generation, and traffic signal coordination functionality. Finally, you will learn how to use Vistro's visual analyses and graphic parameter features.

This playlist will help you quickly understand model information and results.

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OpenStreetMaps Import

Jump-start new traffic models with PTV Vistro’s OpenStreetMaps (OSM) import tool. This bulk network import feature will bring in the essential intersection nodes, geometry information, speeds, street names, and even will classify signalized intersections in the correct geolocation.  Verification of the OSM intersections' lane configurations and geometry is recommended.  After the import, traffic volumes and signal phases and timing data can be entered.

The OSM import is a game changing feature in PTV Vistro. First, you only need a valid .osm file. These files can be downloaded from or exported from GIS tools. After you have a .osm file, go to File->Import->Open Street Map and select your .OSM file to import. Keep in mind, OSM should not be exclusively relied on and there are still a few cleanup efforts to get a model ready.

Easy migration from Synchro to PTV Vistro

Do you already have a traffic operations model in other software?  No problem! Vistro makes migration easy.  First, migrating to PTV Vistro will place your data into a reusable format supported by the urban mobility system.  Furthermore, PTV Vistro can import your Synchro models by utilizing the combined .csv import.

Follow this tutorial and learn how to migrate your data into PTV Vistro.

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Take the next step with PTV's Urban Mobility System

Using PTV Vistro as your base Traffic Signal Optimization Software leverages PTV’s Traffic Suite.  This suite is a powerful urban mobility system. Here, you can fast-track the creation of your micro- and mesoscopic models by reusing Vistro’s engineering set of details.  Information from your traffic operations team like geometry, turn-bay lengths, speeds, intersection names, turn volumes, traffic-signal timing plans, and phasing will seamlessly integrate.


Starting PTV Visum from PTV Vistro

Setting up PTV Visum from a PTV Vistro network is simple.  First, let your traffic operations team finish creating and updating Vistro from OSM or other sources.  Next, your planning team can simply drag-and-drop the Vistro network into Visum.  Then, the network will appear at the same coordinates as in Vistro.  Your planners can verify the details using Visum’s network window tools and the list functionality.

After this initial import into Visum, your planning teams can migrate over other details to complete the Visum model like transit lines, travel-demand assignments, and zones and matrices. PTV Visum’s powerful tools like shapefiles, EMME/2, and database table imports, simplify this migration process if you have access to existing data.

During the Visum model setup, traffic operation teams can still conduct daily tasks in PTV Vistro.  These include updating traffic signal timings, traffic volumes, and lane configurations.  Finally, intersection node numbers must match because the file comparison refers to node IDs.  Using your agency’s intersection numbering system is the best method.

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Maintaining PTV Visum using PTV Vistro

Maintain your PTV Visum models with PTV Vistro.  Traffic operations teams produce many updates to the Vistro network including signal timing updates or geometry changes. These Vistro updates easily incorporate into a Visum network using PTV Visum’s file comparison tool. Additionally, this feature scans for changes between models.

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