PTV Vissim Tips & Tricks

  • Using Labels in PTV Vissim
    • Have you already discovered the labelling feature of PTV Vissim? With labels, you can graphically display attributes, live results, references and attributes of other scenarios in the network editor, enriching your simulation with additional information. You are free to choose position, size and colour of the labels. You can even use colour schemes, so that the colour of a label changes depending on user defined situation.

      Or watch the youtube clip: www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2ezxCzg2a8

  • Useful List Functionality
    • Lists in Vissim offer a powerful way to edit network and other objects. In addition to the obvious functionality here are some more features:

      • Move column: Click and drag a column header to the desired location. Upon dragging, a blue bar between two columns indicates the new location.
      • Column sort:

        • Right click on the column header - Sort Ascending or Sort Descending.
        • This also works for multiple columns. Then sorting starts at the leftmost column.
        • Hierarchical sorting is also possible, as the sorting result is retained if possible. Example: To get the link list sorted by display types and within each display type by length: first sort by length, secondly by display type.

      • Optimum width: Right click - Set Optimum width for all columns
      • Cell formatting: For each attribute column additional settings can be done in the Select attributes dialog:

        • Alignment (left, center, right)
        • Decimals (for non-integer numbers)
        • Show and format units (e.g. mi, km)

      • For attributes with a unit, a value can be entered in any one of the supported units. Vissim then automatically recalculates the value to the set unit (even if the unit is not shown in the cell).
      • You can even use simple math operations to adjust cell values: for example =+5 adds 5 to the current cell value. Similarly you can use -, * and / for subtraction, multiplication and division. This also works for multi-selections.

      Pictures:

  • Editing Attributes of Multi-Selections
    • Vissim includes a variety of editing functionality. Editing an attribute of several network object at once is also possible as long as only objects of the same type are selected. There are two easy ways to accomplish this (the example is shown for "Links"):

      • Open the "Links" list and multi-select the desired links(using the Shift or Ctrl keys) or
      • In the network objects sidebar, select the "Links" insert mode and "Make no types selectable" from the shortcut menu. Then use the mouse to multi-select the desired links.

      Now, in the Quick View sidebar, the attributes of the multi-selection are listed (attributes marked with an * share different values). To assign a new value to all selected objects, simply type/choose the desired value in the field next to the attribute.

      Pictures:

  • Copying a previously modelled node
    • Have you ever felt like copying a modelled node from a previous project or a different part of the network rather than starting from scratch? No problem, PTV Vissim 7 offers two ways: With the Copy/Paste functionality you can copy any multiselection of links/connectors and areas along with the objects placed on top of them. With the "Read Additionally" functionality, you may import data from an existing inpx file and select which objects you would like to import. In both cases, after pasting and while the multiselection is still active, you can also rotate the pasted objects using ALT plus left mouse drag.

       

       

  • Add objects with predefined attribute values
    • Surely you came across a situation in network coding where you wanted to add a new network object with the same values as an already defined one (e.g. when coding speeds in your Vissim network).

      This is the ideal application for the duplicate functionality: Simply drag the desired object with the mouse while holding down the Ctrl key and place it at the position where it should be added. The newly created object now contains the identical attribute values as the original one.

       

       

  • BING and OpenStreetMap: Internet based Map Services in PTV Vissim
    • As an alternative to graphics files or CAD plans, you can use internet based map services as background images in PTV Vissim (BING Aerials and OpenStreetMap).

      Advantages:

      • No need to prepare, load and scale background image files
      • By the push of a button, you always have access to the most recent map material of your chosen map provider
      • Vissim files can be moved or copied without the need of adapting the file paths and without copying or moving image files

      Navigating the background map in PTV Vissim works like in a web browser. The background map is scaled automatically, so the user can start drawing the network right away.

      Background maps can be switched on and off in each network window separately, the user can control the color intensity and switch between color and black-and-white display. The figure below shows a network in PTV Vissim without a background map (upper left), based on OpenStreetMap (lower left) and based on BING Aerials (right).

      Networks can be mapped to any position on the internet map, which allows to use internet maps also in the course of existing PTV Vissim projects.
      BING Aerials are available for users with active maintenance.

      Pictures:

  • Editing 3D signal heads
    • For realistic display of signal heads PTV Vissim offers a wide selection of 3D signal displays for various applications. Besides many configurations for "normal" traffic display it includes specific signal pictures for bikes, pedestrians and public transport. Even digital counters are included.

      A new 3D signal head is generated in 2D mode by pressing "New 3D signal" inside the signal head dialog. An existing 3D signal head can be edited in the following ways:

      • 3D mode: Double click on the 3D signal head to access the signal head dialog.

      • 2D mode: Press Ctrl+H to activated signal head mode. Now the footprint of all 3D signals is displayed. Click and drag on the footprint to relocate the signal head. Ctrl + drag to rotate it. If the signal includes an arm you can rotate and lengthen/shorten the arm by dragging its end (the red circle). Any signal heads attached to the arm (blue arrows) can also be dragged to a new position. You can duplicate a selected signal head by clicking Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V. Double click on the footprint to access the 3D signal head dialog.

      Inside the 3D signal head dialog you can edit all options including the signal head position, signal group assignment, signal picture and mast/arm measurements. You can also add additional signal heads and/or traffic signs to the mast.

  • Anisotropic filtering for better-looking videos
    • For 3D recordings from VISSIM with a very shallow view angle (nearly parallel to the background) you may experience a loss in resolution of the images ("boxed appearance") that increases with a growing distance from the camera position. This behaviour is caused by the graphics card - usually to increase the performance. However, to keep the details in the background image you can enable the "Anisotropic filtering" option in your graphics card settings. Typically there are multiple factors available, e.g. from 2x to 16x. The higher the value, the more details of the image will be retained in the distance.
      Please note that you need to restart VISSIM in order for the graphics card settings to become effective.

  • Avoid cutting the boot/trunk of a vehicle
    • There are occasions where it happens that vehicles "drive through the back" of other vehicles as they do not have reached the new lane completely after a lane change. If you find that happens too often, you can enable the driving behavior parameter "Observe vehicles on next lane(s)". Even when lateral movements within a lane are not permitted this option tells VISSIM to regard the exact position of the rear ends of vehicles during or after a lane change to adjacent lanes.
      As there is no medal with one side only: please note that this option might cut down flow capacity unrealistically as in reality it often happens that vehicles bypass the partially blocking vehicles.

      Pictures:

  • Wide-angle/telephoto views
    • Most of you surely know VISSIMs keyframe functionality to provide a storybook for 3D AVI video files. But did you know that apart from the viewing position you can also alter the focal length like in most cameras? CTRL + PgUp increases the focal length (-> telephoto lens) while CTRL + PgDn decreases it (-> wide-angle lens). The status bar shows the current focal length and displays the corresponding horizontal viewing angle in brackets. The focal length is also stored with each keyframe.
      See below a scene viewed with 4 different focal lengths but all from the same camera position.

      Pictures:

  • Increasing pedestrian simulation performance
    • Pedestrian network models allow for a performance gain if two or more destinations (or intermediate destinations) are located close to each other but far away from their identical starting point. The illustration aside shows an example (for clarity reasons the example shows compressed dimensions): The route origin is on the red area and the green areas are the destinations. The red area could also be a intermediate cross section common to these routes.

      All areas are located on the same level, so the potential field is computed completely for each one of the 4 routes. Since the route path is identical for most parts of all routes, it is not necessary to compute the identical route portions more than once. This can be achieved by a suitable level "split":

      1. Define an additional level at the same height as the existing level you want to "split".
      2. Find a suitable location to "split" the geometry (e.g. a narrow part which is easy to link together like the blue section in the example).
      3. Assign the new level to one part of the geometry (e.g. all construction elements to the left of the blue section)
      4. Connect the two parts with a ramp (blue section in the example). Consider the ramp restrictions.

      If you are using dynamic potentials in your network, a level split limits the extent of the dynamic potential (i.e. the calculation of the potential field stops at ramps). This usually leads to a considerable performance gain with the drawback of the range limitation.

      Picture:

  • Shorten a link
    • If it is necessary to shorten a link and at the same time keep its exact direction, please proceed as follows:

      1. Create a new intermediate point at the desired new link end.
      2. Then drag the existing link end onto that new point.
  • Splitting a link
    • You may have encountered situations where changes in the road design require a different number of lanes within the same link. Therefore, VISSIM links can be split: While in link mode, go to "Edit - Split Link" or simply press "F8". Then click the mouse button at the position within the link where the number of lanes changes. The link is now split into two, which means that for each of the links the number of lanes can be defined differently. A connector at the split position is generated by default.

  • Accessing an underlying link or area
    • While editing a VISSIM network you may encounter situations where several links/connectors (or pedestrian areas) overlap. It can be difficult at times to initially activate the desired object for editing. Therefore, VISSIM offers the "Tab" functionality: Pressing "Tab" loops through all links/connectors or pedestrian areas at the click position. Alternatively you may also use the corresponding toolbar button (circular arrow).

  • Quickly load network and configuration files
    • VISSIM network files (*.INP) can be opened by dragging them from the Windows Explorer directly into the main VISSIM window (Drag and Drop). This network will then automatically load in VISSIM by replacing the current network file. Also layout files (*.INI) can be opened using Drag and Drop. Here the current VISSIM network file remains open.

  • Smooth link curvature
    • VISSIM offers an auto-spline functionality to easily smoothen the curvature of links and connectors. This is not only possible at creation time but also for exisiting objects:

      In link mode, hold down the ALT key, click with the mouse in the start section and drag the mouse to the destination section that you want to modify.

      Then a dialog window opens where you can define the intermediate spline points to be created and whether or not you would like to keep the existing intermediate points. When closing the window, the curvature is created as desired.

       

       

  • Overtake in the Same Lane
    • VISSIM allows for vehicles to be overtaken not only if a link has 2 or more lanes but also within the same lane! This is in addition to having various vehicle classes with different driving behavior traveling in the same lane (as described in the last newsletter):

      Go to "Base Data - Driving Behavior" and activate the tab "Lateral". Here the free flow position and overtake details may be defined for each vehicle class separately. It allows even to model vehicles slowing down due to narrow passing space: Use different values for the min. lateral distance for standstill and moving vehicles.

  • Different Driving Behavior within the same Link
    • There are situations were certain vehicle classes need a different driving behavior while travling in the same link, e.g. if bicycles and cars travel in the same lane. In VISSIM you may accomplish this task by using link behavior types: Go to "Base Data - Link Behavior Types" and create a new link behavior type. On the right hand side, add one or more additional data rows and link a vehicle class with the desired driving behavior parameter set.

  • Straight forward editing/copying of pedestrian areas
    • The editor of the pedestrian module includes several keyboard shortcuts that simplify generation and editing of construction elements. For example, you can copy an element simply by moving it with the mouse to the new position while you hold down the Ctrl key. As soon as you release the mouse button, a copy of the existing element will be generated.

      In order to restrict the mouse movement while generating or editing a construction element, hold down the Shift key: Now you can move an element (or its corner/edge) along the horizontal, vertical or 45-degree-diagonal axis. This also works in combination with the Ctrl key so that you can align exactly any copies of construction elements.

  • Optimize work with conflict areas
    • At junctions often there is an overlap of links and connectors. Here are some hints in order to simplify the creation and management of the conflict areas in VISSIM:

      • Avoid overlaps as far as possible. Thus you reduce the amount of possible conflict areas for each movement as conflict areas are only created for overlaps longer than 0.5m.
      • Try to place start and end of links/connectors so that there is only one link/connector inside the conflict. Thus the amount of possible conflict areas is further reduced.
      • Name all movement inside the junction with speaking names (such as "LeftTurn W-N"). This way you can identify the movements easier in the list of all conflict areas.