Simulating Large-Scale Events as a Network of Heterogeneous Queues: Framework and Application

Christopher Cummings, Hoseb Abkarian, Yuhan Zhou, Divyakant Tahlyan, Karen Smilowitz, Hani S. Mahmassani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Large-scale planned special events (PSEs) can pose unique transportation and logistics challenges. Data collection and simulation are important tools to address these challenges, although they are often difficult because of event size and complexity. This paper discusses methods to address the challenge of multimodal simulation at large PSEs through the context of AirVenture, a large week-long airshow organized by the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Sampling and data collection techniques are discussed for a variety of modal processes like private vehicles, pedestrians, and shuttles, and for different situations like vehicle arrivals and departures, pedestrian queues, and shuttle systems. A flexible simulation framework for integrating these three modes and numerous activities is developed as a network of heterogeneous queues and queue-dependent choices. The simulation tested a variety of proposed policy changes around the site, including rerouting shuttle lines, and adjusting the system of vehicle arrivals to the site. Results of this study demonstrate the effectiveness and flexibility of the data collection and simulation methodologies. The techniques developed in this work can be used to improve planning and transportation systems at many other forms of PSE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTransportation Research Record
PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2022


  • Planning and analysis
  • Simulation modeling
  • Systems modeling
  • Transportation network modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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