Updating the plan to reduce race-day traffic jams through modeling
The inaugural Sprint Cup event at the Kentucky Speedway in 2011 drew national attention—for all the wrong reasons. The speedway’s race day traffic management plan (TMP) broke down, causing a gridlocked roadway system that included twenty-mile back-ups on I-71. To avoid any travel pitfalls for the upcoming Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race, the speedway needed to update it’s TMP, and fast.
To understand the new race-day traffic flow volume, we developed microscopic traffic simulation models to provide information about traffic circulation and parking area usage. The simulation models included twelve-hour inbound pre-race and four-hour outbound post-race scenarios. We included critical data such as the number of people attending the event, where they were coming from, and when they would arrive and other outlying factors like compressed arrival time, highway incidents, and ongoing infrastructure improvements.
The new plan was implemented the following year and was a success. There were no significant delays on I-71, parking areas filled within one hour of the predicted closing times, and traffic cleared within three hours after the race ended.
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