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Development of a methodology to calibrate a pedestrian microsimulation model : doctoral dissertation
Chiara Gruden, 2022, doctoral dissertation

Abstract: Walking, as a mode of transport, is becoming widespread, in a world, where urban conglomerates are broadening and becoming denser. Modern lifestyle trends on a side, and eco-friendly policies on the other, push people into walking habits, increasing the need for a suitable, attractive, accessible, connected and safe walking infrastructure. To reach such a result, it is necessary to understand, what are the needs of the users of this infrastructure, taking into consideration the behavioral specificities and the safety needs of pedestrians. In this process pedestrian microsimulation models, surrogate safety techniques, and technologies able to measure specific traits of pedestrian dynamics play a central role. The firsts allow to reproduce repeatedly in a virtual environment a specific infrastructure and to study the response of pedestrians. Nevertheless, to be accurate and efficient, they need to go through long and tedious calibration and validation processes, that are often seen as an important limitation by technicians. Surrogate safety techniques are methods, that are based on the concept, that it is possible to predict the safety level of a location, using near accidents. The main advantage of such techniques is that they are proactive. Till this moment, these techniques have been mainly applied to on-field measurements and are primarily centered on motorized road users. Less interest has been shown for vulnerable road users, especially for pedestrians, who have been less extensively studied. Finally, an element that could highly affect pedestrian safety is their reaction time. Nevertheless, its measurement has long been a big issue. Eye-tracking technology could be one of the solutions, allowing to analyze the directions and objects fixated by pedestrians. These listed issues are also the topics that are addressed by this research work. Focusing on the study of the action of pedestrians while crossing the road on an unsignalized crosswalk set on a roundabout entry leg, the dissertation thesis aims at studying the crossing time, reaction time and surrogate safety aspects typical of pedestrians at the recalled location. The main purpose of the research work is to develop a methodology to calibrate pedestrian Social Force Model at a selected location, using a specifically formulated neural network as a tool to fine-tune model's behavioral parameters. Eight parameters have been chosen to be fine-tuned, five of those are related to pedestrian behavior and three of them are related to car-following behavior. After the selection of input parameters, a feedforward network has been formulated. Its application in the framework of the whole calibration process has brought to considerably positive results, finding a combination of input parameters that improved the performance of the microsimulation model of 37 % in comparison to the default one. The outputs of the calibrated model have been used to calculate three measures of surrogate safety, and also in this case results demonstrated an improvement in the calculation of surrogate safety measures when using the calibrated outcomes in comparison to their calculation on the “default” model outputs. Finally, reaction time measurement and prediction have been addressed by the thesis, in order to be able to describe pedestrian crossing action in its completeness. Quantitative eye-tracking outputs have been the starting point for the calculation of pedestrian reaction time at different locations, and they allowed to create a database of behavioral, geometric, regulatory and flow characteristics, which was the foundation for the formulation of a new prediction model for pedestrian reaction time. The prediction model, which consists of a cascade-correlation neural network, gave a good response to the learning and generalization steps, turning a 74 % correlation between the measured reaction time values and the predicted ones, and being able to follow the variability of these values.
Keywords: pedestrian, microsimulation model, calibration, neural network, surrogate safety indicators, reaction time.
Published in DKUM: 03.10.2022; Views: 785; Downloads: 96
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