PTV Vissim Tips & Tricks

 Useful List Functionality

Vehicle Routing Decisions - Vehicles Routes
Attribute Selection

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.

 Editing Attributes of Multi-Selections

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.

     Vehicle routing decisions look ahead

    Vehicle routing decisions look ahead

    The new option "Vehicle routing decisions look ahead" is available in the driving behavior parameters. If set, it enables vehicles to anticipate an upcoming static routing decision on the destination link of their current static route. The route to be used from this upcoming decision is selected already when the vehicle passes the previous static routing decision, and that route is considered for the lane choice continuously. A routing decision must have the flag "Combine static routing decisions" set to activate this behavior.

    Routing decisions list

     Copying a previously modelled node

    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

    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.

     Display type options

    Display type options

    The following options are provided for links and connectors with a thickness > 0:

    • Shaded sides: similar as for vehicles the lighting of links/connectors depends on the viewing angle.
    • All sides same colour/texture as top side: Useful for bridges or other structures. Also if you wish to use links as graphical walls in your 3D scene as the texture placed on that link is then displayed as "wall side".

    You can also change link attributes simultaneously for all links/connectors of the same display type: right click in the list of display types and choose "Multi-Select in network". Close the dialog with ok and right click the "Link Attributes (Multiselection)" dialog.

     Editing 3D signal heads

    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.

     Multiple Backgrounds

    Multiple Backgrounds

    You can use more than one image file as VISSIM background, e.g. multiple tiles of aerial photographs or different layers of information from a CAD file. Any additional image file will be displayed on top of the other backgrounds (if the positions overlap). You can also toggle the background display using Ctrl-B while they are loaded. Finally all backgrounds currently visible are also stored in the settings file (*.INI) along with the current zoom factor.

     Anisotropic filtering for better-looking videos

    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.

     add title/trailer to your VISSIM AVI

    add title/trailer to your VISSIM AVI

     View pedestrian LOS (level of service)

    View pedestrian LOS (level of service)

    During a VISSIM pedestrian simulation run, press Ctrl-Q once to enable the display of aggregated values. Then press Ctrl-L repeatedly to browse through all available LOS definitions (the corresponding name is displayed in the status bar). Press Ctrl-Q twice to return to normal view.
    You can also define your own color codes to any of these LOS definitions and even define your own class boundaries in a customizable LOS configuration here: "View - Options - tab "Pedestrians" - option "Aggregated values" - button "Configuration".

     

    LOS off
    LOS scheme "Tekono"

     Avoid cutting the boot/trunk of a vehicle

    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.

     

    With observation
    Without observation

     Anti-Aliasing for better-looking videos

    Anti-Aliasing for better-looking videos

    While recording an AVI file from within VISSIM you should always enable anti-aliasing for a smoother appearance of the 3D scenes, especially in high contrast areas. There are two options:

    1. Inside VISSIM: In 3D mode, enable "Presentation - 3D video - Anti-Aliasing"
      This results in a very smooth appearance but will increase the rendering time during the simulation. (some graphic cards might not support the VISSIM anti-aliasing. Use option 2 then.)

    2. In the graphics card settings: Access the graphics card settings and look for the option "Anti-Aliasing - mode" or similar.
      Choose a setting different from "controlled by application" and choose the highest anti-aliasing factor (typically 16x or 24x - the higher the value the better the effect.) Please note that you need to restart VISSIM in order for the graphics card settings to become effective.
      Option 2 is recommended if you find that the simulation in VISSIM runs too slow or if you don't see any difference with the VISSIM anti-aliasing.
    No anti-aliasing
    Graphics card anti-aliasing
    VISSIM-internal anti-aliasing

     Wide-angle/telephoto views

    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.

     

    35 mm
    70 mm
    120 mm
    206 mm

     Increasing pedestrian simulation performance

    Increasing pedestrian simulation performance

    VISSIM Pedestrian Simulation

    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.

     Bring out-of-scope windows back to screen

    Bring out-of-scope windows back to screen

    When switching from multi-monitor display back to a single monitor it may happen that some evaluation windows are not visible (it does not happen to dialog windows). Then the VISSIM.INI configuration file contains screen locations outside the current window scope.
    There are two options to bring them back to the main screen:

    Option A:

    1. Close VISSIM.
    2. Delete the VISSIM.INI file from the directory of the VISSIM input file where you've experienced the visibility problems.
    3. Open VISSIM and load the input file from the same directory.
    4. Open the evaluation windows. Now they appear back on the main screen.

    Option B:

    1. Directly after opening an "invisible" window (e.g. vehicle information window), press "Alt" + "Space". A context menu of that window opens as close as possible to the top left corner of the current (invisible) window location.
    2. With the cursor keys (not by mouse!) choose "Move" from the context menu and press Enter.
    3. Press a cursor key once again (nothing seems to happen but that's ok).
    4. Move the mouse (without a mouse key pressed) towards the opposite side of the context menu: the window is moved along with the mouse and eventually appears on the screen again.
    5. Left click once to "drop" the window at the desired location.

    Note: option B works for all application windows, not only VISSIM.

     Shorten a link

    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

    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

    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).

     Display the vehicle route sequence in advance

    Display the vehicle route sequence in advance

    During the simulation it can be helpful to know which links/connectors a vehicle will take. This information can be displayed in the "Vehicle Information" window: Go to "Evaluations - Windows - Vehicle Information" and simply add "Routing Sequence" to the list of selected parameters. By doing so, you will see the complete route sequence of the vehicle until it leaves the network.

     Quickly load network and configuration files

    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.

     Switch global/local color display of links and areas

    Switch global/local color display of links and areas

    During network editing it is often helpful to discern several display types for different link/area types. However, when it comes to simulation in 3D, you might want to have a more realistic appearance: By pressing Ctrl-T the display of links/connectors and pedestrian areas toggles between global color and display type specific color (similar as the setting in View - Options - Color).

     Static 3D objects

    Static 3D objects

    Do you want to place a static 3D model at exact heights or rotations? So to the 3D model selection dialog and enter the desired values for elevation and rotation. Hint: "Rotate (XY)" corresponds to the "normal" on ground rotation.

     North direction and compass

    North direction and compass

    Some network elements and evaluations refer to the North direction of your network. To view your current setting, toggle the compass by View - Options - Network - option "Compass" (or shortcut Ctrl-M - sometimes a screen refresh is needed here).
    In addition, you can change the North direction in 2D mode by double clicking inside the compass and rotating it using mouse drag.

     Smooth link curvature

    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

    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.

     3D Display Type Options

    3D Display Type Options

    Display types define the appearance of links, connectors and pedestrian areas. When using textures, two options help to adjust the appearance to your liking:

    • "Curved": Useful if the texture should "bend" with the underlying link. Don't use it for large areas compound of several objects that should appear uniformly.
    • "No Mipmapping": Mipmapping is a method for ressource optimization when viewing textures from a distance: The further away a texture is from the observer, the less detailed it is drawn. Typically this leads to some blurring of the texture which sometimes is intended, but on other occassions is not. To keep up the details of a texture also in the distance, activate the option "No Mipmapping".

     Color Coding Links

    Color Coding Links

    Typically the links/connectors in VISSIM are colored using the color defined in the corresponding display type. However, for special applications, this color can be overruled by the settings in "View - Options" on the tab "Colors": Choose a different color for "Links" and deactivate the option "Use display type colors". Then all links/connectors will be drawn with the selected color. Furthermore, next to "Marking" a second color may be defined for links/connectors with special attributes such as gradient, lane closure, link evaluation etc. This feature is especially useful for trouble-shooting.

     Different Driving Behavior within the same Link

    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.

     Show Vehicle Information

    Show Vehicle Information

    During a simulation run all relevant vehicle information may be displayed in a dedicated text window - even for several vehicles simultaneously (one window per vehicle): In 2D single step mode double click on the desired vehicle and a vehicle information window opens. The parameters shown in that window can be configured by "Evaluation - Windows - Vehicle Information". Furthermore, the position and size of these information windows may be stored in a layout file (*.ini). Hence you can easily restore the windows layout and also use it in other projects.

     Sit in the Driver's Seat (3D)

    Sit in the Driver's Seat (3D)

    Would you like to see your VISSIM simulation from a driver's seat perspective? No problem: Activate the 3D graphics mode, double click on the desired vehicle and continue the simulation. Immediately the virtual camera is attached to this vehicle and travels through the VISSIM network. To return to the previous 3D view, simply close the corresponding vehicle information window.

     Straight forward editing/copying of pedestrian areas

    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.

     Load background images automatically

    Load background images automatically

    Surely you know the method of starting VISSIM straight away with an INP file. However, did you know that this is possible also for INI files as well? Using a link in Windows Explorer you may pass along an INP file name as well as an INI file name in the following way:

    Vissim.exe "KA_3D.inp" -b"layout.ini"
    (depending on your settings the paths of the file names need to be included as well) Thus you have triggered an efficient 3-in-1-step process: VISSIM is opened, the INP file is loaded and the settings/layout of the INI file are established.

    New since VISSIM 5.10-06 is the feature that upon opening an INI file that contains a position of a background image all previously loaded background images are closed.

     Select all links belonging to a certain display or behavior type

    Select all links belonging to a certain display or behavior type

    Sometimes you may want to change all links/connectors of a certain type, e.g. to color code behavior types or to synchronize display and behavior types. Therefore a new command "Multi-select in network" is included in the local menu of the type lists (Base Data - Display Types resp. Behavior Types). As soon as you select this command, all links/connectors belonging to that type are multi-selected. This selection stays active after the dialog is closed.

     Load-tiling big background images

    Load-tiling big background images

    For large networks also large background images might be used. Opening these images may take some time due to file size - especially in 3D graphics mode. For better feedback to the user there is an option to split the image in small portions (tiles): View - Options [Colors] - 3D Background Resolution offers an additional option called "Tiles". If activated, the image is loaded tile by tile.

     Optimize work with conflict areas

    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.