About the research
This project builds upon previous experiences with supercomputing and GIS. It investigated procedures for integrating supercomputer and GIS capabilities in transportation modeling. The researchers working on this project had previously successfully linked TRANPLAN and a GIS program (ARC/INFO) on computer workstations. This batch mode linkage was limited, however, to exploiting the data management and output capabilities of GIS. Further, the time required for a single run of the travel demand model for a medium to large region (about one hour on a fast workstation) prohibited the interactive viewing of outputs resulting from changes in assumptions and data.
Supercomputing presented several opportunities for transportation planning–opportunities which went well beyond being able to run models at high rates of speed. The goal of this project was to demonstrate the usefulness of high speed computing to transportation planning. The goal was met by developing an interactive system whereby GIS can be used to change demand model inputs, call for a run of the travel demand model on a mainframe computer, and display the results. The user interface is a multi-layer thematic map graphic which improves the user’s ability not only to modify data and assumptions, but to recognize the implications of changes through overlay of input and output networks.