The collapse of the Interstate 35W Bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis resulted in unexpected loss of
life and had serious consequences on mobility and accessibility in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. In response to
the network disruption caused by the bridge collapse, a number of traffic restoration projects were proposed and
rapidly implemented by MnDOT. Selection and prioritization of these projects, however, was based mainly on
engineering judgment and experience. The only decision-support tool available to traffic engineers was the regional
transportation planning model, which is static in nature and decennial.
In this work, the Twin Cities metropolitan area is simulated using a mesoscopic traffic simulator in the AIMSUN
software. After establishing the mesoscopic simulation model, we attempt to utilize the calibrated mesoscopic
simulation model to evaluate drivers’ perceived cost evolution to explain the traffic dynamics on the Twin Cities
road network after the unexpected collapse of the I-35W Bridge over the Mississippi River. Given the observation
of largely underutilized sections of network, it is proposed that the tragedy generated a perceived travel cost to
discourage commuters from using these sections. Applying a mesoscopic simulation model provided by AIMSUN,
the perceived costs on cordon lines after the I-35W Bridge collapse were suggested to be best described as an
exponential decay cost curve. The proposed model is applicable to both practitioners and researchers in traffic-related
fields by providing an understanding of how traffic dynamics will evolve after a long-term, unexpected
Liu, Henry X.; Danczyk, Adam; He, Xiaozheng.
Development of the Next Generation Metro-Wide Simulation Models for the Twin Cities' Metropolitan Area: Mesoscopic Modeling.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.