microscopic simulation models, traffic data collection at toll plaza, toll plaza simulation, toll plaza capacity, SHAKER, VISSIM


A great deal of research has been conducted on Central Florida toll roads to better understand the characteristics of the tolling operation. In this thesis, the development and calibration of a toll plaza simulation models will be analyzed using two simulation programs varying mostly in their modeling theory. The two models utilized are, SHAKER, a deterministic queuing model for vehicles utilizing toll collection facilities, and VISSIM, a globally popular stochastic simulation software. The benefits of simulation models leads to the purpose of this thesis, which is to examine the effectiveness of two toll modeling programs that are similar in purpose but vary in approach and methodology. Both SHAKER and VISSIM toll plaza models have the potential to work as a tool that can estimate the maximum throughput and capacity of toll plazas. Major operational benefits resulting from developing these models are to simulate and evaluate how traffic conditions will change when demand increases, when and if queues increase when a lane is closed due to maintenance or construction, the impact of constructing additional lanes, or determining whether or not the best lane type configuration is currently implemented. To effectively calibrate any model available site data must be used to compare simulation results to for model validity. In an effort to correctly calibrate the SHAKER toll plaza tool and VISSIM model, an extensive field collection procedure was conducted at four Florida Turnpike operated toll facilities located in Central Florida. Each site differed from the others in terms of number of lanes, lane configuration, toll base fee, highway location, traffic demand, and vehicle percentage. The sites chosen for data collection were: the Lake Jesup Mainline Plaza along the Seminole Expressway (SR-417), the Beachline West Expressway Toll Plaza along the SR-528, the Daniel Webster Western Beltway Plaza along SR-429, and the Leesburg Toll Plaza along the Florida Turnpike Mainline SR-91. Upon completion of calibration of the two simulation models it is determined that each of the two software are successful in modeling toll plaza capacity and queuing. As expected, each simulation model does possess benefits over the other in terms of set up time, analysis reporting time, and practicality of results. The SHAKER model setup takes mere seconds in order to create a network and input vehicle, another few seconds to calibrate driving parameters, and roughly 10 additional seconds to report analysis. Conversely, setting up the VISSIM model, even for the most experienced user, can take several hours and the report analysis time can take several more hours as it is dependant on the number of required simulation runs and complexity of the network. VISSIM is most beneficial by the fact that its modeling allows for driver variability while SHAKER assumes equilibrium amongst lane choice and queuing. This creates a more realistic condition to observed traffic patterns. Even though differences are prevalent, it is important that in each simulation model the capacity is accurately simulated and each can be used to benefit operational situations related to toll plaza traffic conditions.


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Graduation Date



Radwan, Essam A.


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Degree Program

Civil Engineering








Release Date

December 2008

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)