Todd sent me the snaphot below from SimCity in a very interesting email about using SimCity 5 for travel demand modeling and traffic simulation. I am not a SimCity player (although it looks like I should start). Todd tells me you can perform a "select link" analysis by querying any roadway segment and you can also perform a "select zone" analysis by querying any building.
He also sent this link about someone who has recreated their whole town in the latest SimCity 5. The blog post talks about peak hour traffic conditions and how the models appear reasonable compared to the blogger's driving experiences.
The comments section on the blog have several transportation industry folks chatting. It sounds like several people want to improve the calibration tools within SimCity so we could in fact use it for travel demand modeling and simulations. This is very interesting. SimCity is built so anyone can create a city – it appears much more user friendly than most of the software tools in our industry.
Here's a link about a lot of the different simulations that happen in SimCity. As a transportation guy, I obviously focus on transportation modeling and analyses. But I wonder if using SimCity to model existing cities could take things to a whole new level?
A construction worker broke a large watermain in downtown Minneapolis about a month ago and several arterial streets were flooded as well as water being shut off to a portion of downtown. We also had the collapse of the I-35W bridge several years ago.
A fully built out SimCity model of a region could help with transportation planning for these types of scenarios, but it could also help for emergency response planning. I know government agencies play "emergency games" to train elected officials and government staff. Running hypothetical emergencies in SimCity could help an agency think through a lot of different scenarios and identify critical vulnerabilities.