by Stephen Sofhauser

Nobody enjoys being stuck in traffic. Congestion is an increasing reality for people living in cities with fast growing populations and transportation infrastructures ill-equipped to meet mounting demand. But that may not have to be a reality anymore.

A group of researchers within the Center for Transportation Research (CTR) at the University of Texas at Austin are turning to high performance computing to help solve the city's growing traffic woes.

Using the Stampede supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) to run advanced transportation models, CTR is helping local transportation agencies to better understand, compare and evaluate a variety of solutions to traffic problems in Austin and the surrounding region. By teaming with TACC, they have seen computations run 5 to 10 times faster on Stampede.

Researchers are using dynamic traffic assignments to support city planners by offering greater insights into how travel demand, traffic control and changes in the existing infrastructure combine to impact transportation in the region.

To help with better decision making, an interactive web-based visualization tool has been developed. It allows researchers to see the results of the various traffic simulations and associated data in a multitude of ways. By providing various ways to view the area's transportation network, researchers can gain greater clarity into traffic, how their models are performing, and what the impact of suggested transportation strategies might be.

You can learn about UT's efforts to unclog Austin's roads in at TACC's news site.