Research analyst designs program to manage traffic flow at Wright-Patt
By Brian Brackens, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Public Affairs
/ Published October 21, 2019
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Starting the day off with traffic delays and long lines on the way to work is never fun, but can sometimes be part of the daily commute.
Sarah Lomax, an operations research analyst with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Operations Research Division, recently developed a program to manage traffic flow on to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and help minimize congestion on the way to the office.
The program known as the Gate Simulation Model is designed to assist the 88th Security Forces Squadron in determining the manpower and lanes needed to facilitate the efficient and smooth flow of vehicles onto base.
“We have 27k – 30k people coming on base every day and it takes a lot of effort and manpower to get them on and off,” said Fred Tito, a traffic engineer with the 88th Air Base Wing Civil Engineering Group. “The Gate Simulation Model allows us to project how things would operate at the gate based on our resources and then adjust our manpower depending on simulation.”
In developing the Excel based program, Lomax relied on academic queuing theory and data from a recent traffic study.
“I did a lot of research into queuing formulas, and how we should use them,” said Lomax. “Once the logic was built, once I could pull the data into something that made sense, I was able to create a user friendly model.”
Lomax added that the model doesn’t have a lot of code and doesn’t require certain software to be downloaded. It takes real-life data and real-life regulations and allows users to figure out how many lanes to open, how many people should be working and how long traffic wait time should be.
“Getting on base is how most of us start our day,” said Jeremy Brogdon, an operations research analyst with Air Force Materiel Command’s Studies and Analysis Branch. “Starting off on the right foot is good for the mission and morale, and the Gate Simulations Model will play a role in the overall efforts to improve queuing efficiency on to base.”