University of Minnesota Driven to Discover
U of MNUniversity of Minnesota
Center for Transportation Studies

Webinar Available


A Predictive Study of Use Impacts on the Denali Park Road

Part of the Advanced Transportation Technologies Seminar Series — 2008 For more information, contact Shawn Haag at the ITS Institute, 612-625-5608 or

November 18

Ted Morris [bio]
Laboratory Manager, Minnesota Traffic Observatory

3:30–4:30 p.m., at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities campus in room 1130 of the Mechanical Engineering Building [map]

Faced with increasing visitation and pressure to defend or change the limits to road traffic, the National Park Service wishes to develop a greater understanding of the impacts of traffic volume and traffic patterns on the physical, biological, and social environment of Denali National Park. The unique nature of the park road and the fact that the majority of the traffic involves the buses impose modeling constraints that traditional traffic planning models cannot handle.

This presentation will focus on a University of Minnesota study that employs a microscopic traffic simulator capable of emulating location and vehicle-specific driving behaviors. The traffic model has multiple objectives: to assess the impact on the visitor experience and wildlife, and for predicting the impacts of proposed road operational strategies. The traffic model incorporates driver behavior, traffic interaction with wildlife sightings, as well as scheduling and logistics for bus and vehicle operations during the tourist season. Traffic-simulation experiments of alternative bus management scenarios were examined in relation to visitor quality-of-experience indicators and impacts on wildlife.