Transportation Planning & Engineering (Civ-B7) - Solutions
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About: The Transportation Planning & Engineering exam is written nationally for aspiring civil engineers. The code for this exam is:
- Civil - 16-Civ-B7 (or you may see it like YY-Civ-B7, Civ-B7. It used to be called 98-Civ-A6 but they changed the code)
This exam is a comprehensive test of your knowledge of transportation planning systems, but having knowledge of the fundamentals of the subject will be enough to solve the exam. Out of the eight questions that are asked in the exam, only six needs to be attempted (choice is given among limited/specified problems).
Format: 3-hour long, closed book exam, but you are allowed a two-sided cheat sheet.
Dates written: The exam is offered twice every year in the months of May and December.
- Casio or Sharp approved models of calculators are permitted in the exam. All non-programmable calculators are considered approved models.
- The cheat sheet should be 8.5”x11” (letter sized), handwritten on both sides, with notes and/or formulae.
The aid sheet should be 8.5”x11” (letter sized), handwritten on both sides, with notes and/or formulae. The ‘cheat sheet’ can be used to have a ready reference of definitions and formulas which you think are important.
The exam tests your theoretical knowledge too, so it is a good idea to have definitions of terms like trips (also, types of trips), TAZs, the different stages of the four-stage transport modelling procedure, IIA, etc.
It is important to note down the formulas for all stages of the FSM - trip generation, trip distribution, mode choice analysis and trip assignment, along with formulas of important topics like queue diagrams and traffic stream models, as these are definitely asked in each exam.
To answer logical questions which ask you to comment on some results, or ask you to give your views on whether the results are counter-intuitive, it is a good idea to make a note of the usual relations between factors. For example, it is frequently asked why or how the addition of a new route increases travel times. This can be asked in many ways, but the concept remains the same, the relation between traffic volumes and travel time for all routes. This graph and a short explanation can be included in the cheat sheet.
Upon reviewing previous years’ question papers, a clear pattern of the questions emerges.
The questions consist of both theoretical and numerical problems.
Question no. 1: Land-use and Transport Integration
The first question tests your knowledge about land-use,transport integration, and your concepts about the four-stage transport modelling process. It is a theoretical question. You will be asked how, for example, residential development affects mode choice in a particular area, like low-density urban areas. Your understanding of trip production, travel demand, etc. will be tested here.
Question no. 2: Queue Diagram and Queue Length
The second question is a numerical problem regarding queueing diagrams. You will be asked to calculate maximum queue length, total and average vehicle delay, etc. For example, given the average arrival rate, you might have to calculate the mean service rate, the utilisation factor and based on these parameters, calculate the queue length and average delay. Use the equations:
L = γW and, W=Wq+1γ
- L - Avg expected in queueing system
- W - Expected waiting time
- γ - Mean arrival rate
Question no. 3: Trip Rate Calculation
Question three is regarding trip rates. The calculation of trip rates using category models and linear regression models. You will be given data about trip generated per household for a given number of workers in the household and forecasted number of workers per household. You will have to fit a regression equation based on this data. And further, calculate the trip rates. You will also be asked about differentiating between the assumptions and limitations of these methods.
Question no. 4: Traffic Stream Models
The fourth question is also a numerical problem. It tests your knowledge of traffic stream models. Mainly two models; the Greenshield’s macroscopic stream model and the shock wave theory. Typically, it is up to you, which model to use in your answer. You are expected to calculate the free flow speed and density of vehicle flow based on given values of flow and density in normal conditions and jam conditions.
Question no. 5: Trip Distribution
The fifth question consists of both numerical and theoretical questions regarding the Gravity Model to do the trip distribution stage of the four-stage modelling (FSM) process. You will be asked to calculate the intra- and inter-zonal trips for a given case. The final part of the question is theoretical and asks the examinee about the potential factors affecting trip distribution.
Using the basic equation for Gravity model:
Dij = Bj × Dj × Σi × Ai × Oi × f(cij)
And by using simple iteration, try to get convergence between the observed and forecasted trips. Typically, you will be given the equation for the cost factor in the Gravity Model equation.
Question no. 6: Traffic/Trip Assignment
This question specifically tests your knowledge of link performance functions for trip assignment. You will be given the functions for travel time and will be asked to calculate the traffic volume and travel time at user equilibrium. You have to substitute the travel time functions in the integrated equation for minimising congestion.
Question no. 7: Mode Choice Analysis
The seventh question tests your knowledge of calculating mode split using either the multinomial or binary logit model. You will be given the utility equation and will be expected to calculate the probability of choosing one mode compared to the other. The probability to be calculated using the equation:
[For binary logit]
[For multinomial logit]
Comments are asked on the results based on the IIA (Independent of Irrelevant Alternatives) property of multinomial logit model and suggest measures to overcome the limitations of the IIA property. You will have to give reasons behind your comments, whether the results are intuitive or counter-intuitive and your thoughts on the results.
Based on your education and experience, we've put together a few different options to help you out. If you are feeling confident in the material and believe you are knowledgeable on the exam topics, then a less expensive option may be best for you. For those who need more help and support, the more expensive packages would be recommended.
The recommended textbooks for this exam are:
- Principles of Highway Engineering and Traffic Analysis, Mannering, F. L. and Washburn, S. S. and Kilareski, W. P.. Wiley.
- Traffic Engineering, Roess, R. P. and Prassas, E. S. and McShane, W. R.. Prentice Hall.
- Transportation Engineering and Planning, C.S. Papacostas, C. S. and Prevedouros, P. D.. PrenticeHall.
Note: PEO has noted that none of the above textbooks adequately cover the following topics: “Deterministic” queuing theory; rail, air, water, and pipeline systems; accidents, so you'll have to seek other resource(s) for help with these topics if needed.
- Fundamentals of Transportation Engineering, Fricker, J. D. and Whitford, R. K.. Pearson / Prentice Hall.
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