Transportation Planning practice is defined as improving coordination between land use and transportation system planning; providing cooperative interaction between planning, design and operation of transportation services, maintaining a balance between transportation related energy use, clean air and water, and encouraging alternative modes of transportation that will enhance efficiency while providing high levels of mobility and safety.
That phase of engineering which deals with the planning, geometric design and traffic operations of roads, streets and highways – their networks, terminals, abutting lands and relationships with other modes of transportation – for the achievement of safe, efficient and convenient movement of persons and goods.
Traffic Signal design is the science of allocating specific time periods (intervals) for the different components of a traffic signal (red, yellow, green) to optimize vehicular and/or pedestrian flow at a signalized intersection. Traffic signal coordination is the optimization of a series of traffic signals, through the appropriate allocation of intervals and phases that would allow a steady progression of vehicles through a series of intersections.
Whenever a new development occurs, it invariably results in increased traffic on an existing road network. The extent of the impact depends on the location of the development, its size, the surrounding land use, proximity to congested networks and other factors. Transportation engineers are therefore required to investigate the proposed impact on the transportation network or all types of development (commercial, residential, industrial, etc.) when they are commissioned and at future years, depending on preset and regulatory agency criteria. An example of this activity is the Seven Hills Development located in East Trinidad. The Ministry of Works and Infrastructure (MOWI) required the developer to undertake a study to determine the overall impact of the development on the existing road network. At the conclusion of the study, it was determined that minor upgrades to the road network would be required to ensure the development does not severely impact the existing road network.
Transportation modeling involves the use of industry grade software to replicate, as far as reasonably possible, the operations of the various transportation system modes. The modeling of the transportation system occurs at two basic levels- macroscopic and microscopic. A third level, referred to as the mesoscopic level is gaining more prominence and is considered particularly useful under several local scenarios. As the term suggests, macroscopic modeling practice tends to focus on regional level transportation networks and how vehicles and freight interact accordingly. The focus is on the amalgam of transportation vehicles with the aim of determining the most efficient means of mass movement based on time, cost and other benefits. Microsimulation generally involves in-depth analysis of individual vehicles (car, bus, tram, pedestrian, etc.) and their movements, and how each affects the traffic stream. A thorough understanding of traffic flow theory, human behaviour characteristics and statistics is essential to ensure accurate models are built and the outputs are appropriately analyzed and understood. CARITRANS Company Limited is currently preparing a series of models for major towns and cities in Trinidad that analyzes the travel patterns of a number of modes of transportation (bus, taxi, pedestrian, private car), to determine how best to relieve traffic congestion in and around these areas. These models are built using VISSIM microsimulation software and allow stakeholders to view the simulation of real world traffic in 3D!
Safety analysis and the mitigation of safety issues at intersections on freeways and main roads are a major responsibility of transportation engineers. Techniques for determining and solving problems of red-light-running at signalized intersections, excessive speed, above normal accident rates and fatalities, are all included in the scope of transportation engineers. Operations involves analysis of exiting transportation networks to diagnose and resolve problems to the extent that user LOS is acceptable. Therefore, traffic congestion relief in cities and highways are a major component of the operations work of CARITRANS Company Limited. The firm is currently assisting the National Road Safety Council (NRSC) in its road safety campaign across Trinidad and Tobago. Technical advice based on the principle’s research and experience in red-light-running mitigation, speed control and behavior associated with these infractions of the law is being shared with the NRSC.
Disaster preparedness management is complex in nature due to the many different scenarios that can arise out of a single type of disaster, let along other types. Transportation engineers assist agencies such as the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) in the development of strategies to remove people from disaster prone areas in the event of a foreseeable disaster, such as a hurricane. Strategies can also be developed for the safe and rapid removal of people from the scene of a disaster in the event of an unplanned disaster such as a catastrophic earthquake. All of these plans can be prepared using a combination of macroscopic, mesoscopic and microscopic simulation models in conjunction with GIS databases, and assist agencies in determining the effectiveness of existing plans, as well as where bottlenecks may occur in the system.
Research and development from a transportation perspective, involves the testing, evaluation and implementation of existing best practice, pioneering technology and new ideas, to maximize the efficiency of the movement of people. Whether it be the testing of new CNG vehicle technology in the Caribbean environment, installation of GPS devices on public transit vehicles for the evaluation of fleet operations or the analysis of pedestrian movement in downtown Port of Spain, CARITRANS Company Limited, through its collaboration with the University of the West Indies, will lead the charge in improving the way people move locally.
In order to accurately plan for future development, resolve current transportation issues or to evaluate the effect of heavy vehicles on the road surface, information must be collected in the form of a traffic survey. Data collected include the type and total volume of vehicles traversing a roadway; the average speed of vehicles in a particular area; the direction and number of vehicles entering and leaving an intersection; and the origin, destination and purpose of trips at any given time.
The Seven Hills Development is a 106 hectare, 382 single-unit detached housing lot development that includes 6 town houses and 3 nursery/recreational facilities. Caribbean Transportation Consultancy Services (CARITRANS Company Limited was responsible for undertaking the Traffic Impact Assessment (TIA) for the development, that would determine the extent of the proposed development’s impact on the existing road network at opening year and 10 years after opening. The company was also charged with proposing necessary adjustments to the existing road network to cater for future demand, in the event that development results in a Level of Service (LOS) below “D” at opening or in the future. The entire analysis was undertaken using PTV’s VISSIM microsimulation software.
A client is undertaking a major infrastructure project in west Trinidad that requires the timing and coordination of two signalized intersections. A preliminary timing and coordination plan was undertaken by CARITRANS Company Limited to facilitate acceptable operations during the morning and afternoon peak periods. As an ongoing project, the signal timing will be updated upon receipt of additional traffic data.
Excessive queuing occurs northbound on the SS Erin Road as one approaches the junction with M2 Ring Road, in the vicinity of the Namdevco Market. One of the major causes of this excessive queuing is the inability of vehicles attempting to turn right to get on to the M2 ring road, due to heavy southbound traffic on the SS Erin Road, as well as adequate storage space for the existing right turning lane, especially when heavy vehicles are contained in the traffic stream.
To resolve this problem, CARITRANS Company Limited would recommend restricting all northbound, right turns during peak periods and have vehicles turn left in front of the Namdevco market. A u-turn will then be made on to the Mw ring road and vehicles will proceed through the exiting signalized intersection with adjustments to the signal phases and timing to suit. The following traffic simulations, using VISSIM microsimulation software, illustrate the before and after effects.
Caribbean Transportation Consultancy Services (CARITRANS) Company Limited is a Limited Liability Company that undertakes consultancy services in the specialized Civil Engineering field of Transportation Engineering. The firm was founded on a sole proprietorship basis on April 12, 2012 by Mr. Lacey Williams. On September 26, 2012, the business was incorporated as a Limited Liability Company. Mr. Lacey Williams is a Civil Engineer with over twelve years’ experience, having graduated from the University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine Campus in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree. Mr. Williams went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Transportation Engineering at Howard University, Washington DC in 2011 and returned to Trinidad and Tobago shortly thereafter to focus specifically on resolving transportation issues within the region. Specific areas of expertise include transportation planning, traffic engineering, traffic signal design and coordination, traffic impact studies of developments, traffic and transit simulation (modelling), safety and operations and research and development.
CARITRANS has partnered with an Atlanta based transportation engineering and planning firm, GMB Engineers & Planners (GMB) doing business as Metro Planning and Engineering (MPE), as the company pursues projects locally and internationally. MPE’s principal, Mr. Grady Smith, is a Transportation Engineer with over 18 years’ experience in the field. Mr. Smith has worked extensively in the Atlanta area on transit planning, highway planning and design, and traffic engineering projects for and on behalf of the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) for the majority of his career. He brings his experience and understanding of the systems and processes that lead to success while undertaking small, medium and large scale projects. Mr. Smith has previous work experience in Trinidad and Tobago, having worked with e TecK on developing solutions to relieve traffic congestion on its Industrial Parks, and provided a planning framework for access and egress for the Tarouba Energy and Technology (EnTech) Park in south Trinidad. Together, CARITRANS and GMB/MPE bring a compliment of professionals with a combined 70 years of experience that is ready and able to provide sustainable solutions for small medium and large scale transportation related projects, depending on the needs of the client. Both companies have the necessary resources internally to undertake design projects and related studies in the field on relatively short notice.