HCS-3™

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HCS-3™ Tips and Frequently Asked Questions

Please review these notes before contacting McTrans for technical support, as it is likely your question will be answered by the FAQs and tips below. If your question is not answered, feel free to contact us for assistance! Ph: (352) 392-0378 Email: mctrans@ce.ufl.edu.

For quicker service, please have your HCS-3 registration number available if you call. It can be found by choosing Help then “About HCS-3″ on the Main Menu. Your registration number is just below the header information.

Does the upgrade from Release 2 to HCS-3 add new modules, upgrade only changed ones, or is it a complete, new set?

This release comprises a complete installation of HCS. Freeways, Weaving, Ramps, Multilane, Signals, Unsignal, Arterials and the Main Menu have been replaced. Unchanged versions of other modules are included and linked from the new main menu.

What do the patches change?

These patches add several new features and corrects some problems that existed in the initial release. The History.txt file distributed with the update details the changes. It can be also be viewed on the HCS-3 web site.

How do I get the patch(es)?

The patches can be downloaded from the HCS-3 web site.

How do I install the patch(es)?

After downloading the patch executable file to a temporary location on your computer, simply run it by clicking on Start, then Run and selecting the file you just downloaded. Remember, the patches are not cumulative, so you must update your version one patch at a time, in order, if you are behind.

Why does it tell me that I must have a registered copy of the previous version, when that is already installed?

There are a few reasons this error can be generated when the patch is checking for an appropriate version of HCS-3 to update. The most common is that the user logged on to perform the update is different from the user logged on during the original installation. This creates a discrepancy in the Windows registry that the check process uncovers. The solution is either to log on as the user who installed HCS-3, or re-install HCS-3, before applying the patch.

I noticed the installation only asked for two disks, but I was sent three.

The third disk contains some system “DLL” files which are only installed if not already present. This disk also contains a separate copy of the sample data files.

I tried to open a data file from the Windows Explorer but it didn’t have the correct icon and it didn’t open.

Data files created by all of the Release 3 modules may be opened this way. However, you must make sure that the module for that file has been run at least one time to register it with the operating system.
Note that files from those modules still in DOS (TwoLane, Transit and Pedestrians) must be opened from within the respective programs.

I double clicked on an HCS-3 menu icon and the corresponding chapter opened twice.

Modules are launched from the HCS-3 menu using pushbuttons. These are activated by a single click of the mouse, so multiple clicks will result in multiple instances of a module.

In entering data, why doesn’t the “Enter” key advance the cursor to the next field?

In a truly “Windows-compatible” program, the “Enter” key inserts data into the current field and causes an update or recalculation. The “Tab” key is reserved for advancing to the next field (and, in HCS-3, this also causes a recalculation).

If I “Tab” to the next field, the default text is selected and I can easily replace it. However, if I click into a field using the mouse, why am I in edit mode and must delete the default text before replacing it with my own?

If you simply “double-click” into the field, the default text will be selected.

Is blanking a data field appropriate to negate its effects on calculations?

All non-calculated data entry fields must contain valid values (not a blank field).  For calculated data fields, blanking the field will restore the calculated value.

I prefer a date format that is different from the default. Can this be changed?

HCS-3 uses the date format that has been specified to be the default in Windows (under Regional Settings).

Why does the Report pane sometimes show areas that seem to have missing data?

The labels defined for the Report in most modules are fixed, regardless of the specific input or results values in a particular analysis. If some data are not needed, or some results not applicable, the labels provided for those values still appear in the Report. Flexibility to only show labels for which there are values is planned in a future release.

Why can’t I print only selected text in the Report pane?

This capability is planned in a future release. For now, you can mark a portion of the text in the Report pane, then right-click to copy it to the Windows clipboard or save to a file for pasting or loading into WordPad or your word processor for printing.

When printing a report, why do the page breaks occur at the wrong places?

Flexible page setup attributes are planned in a future release. For now, you can mark a portion of the text in the Report pane, then right-click to copy it to the Windows clipboard or save to a file for pasting or loading into WordPad or your word processor for printing with your selected margins and page breaks.

Why am I unable to print from the Transit, Pedestrians and Two-Lane modules?

These modules are currently running in MS-DOS mode and the printer must be configured to print from MS-DOS. On Windows NT this may have to be done by the administrator. Windows 95/98 users may configure a printer to print from MS-DOS by modifying the printer’s properties (Start Menu/Settings/Printers/Properties/Details) to print to a specific port. Consult the Windows documentation for additional details.

When I copy-and-paste into my word processing software from the Report pane, why does some of the formatting get lost?

The Report pane is using a “fixed” font with each character occupying exactly the same amount of space. When pasting into a word processor, be sure the font selected is also a “fixed” font (such as Courier) and not a “proportional” one (such as Times New Roman).

Why is there an asterisk (*), plus sign (+) or minus sign (-) appended to certain values (sometimes but not always) in the output pane and printed in the report?

If a calculated number is edited, an asterisk (*) will be shown by that field and an asterisk will appear in all results to indicate that an intermediate value was adjusted.

Result thresholds at decision points, such as density or delay, will have a plus (+) or minus (-) appended if the calculated value at full precision is greater (+) or less (-) than the rounded displayed value. The asterisk (*), plus (+), and minus (-) flags will appear when applicable in the report pane and in the printed reports.

Why do some analyses result in a blank for density?

Especially when analyzing ramp junctions with long acceleration or deceleration lanes, the density can actually be computed to be negative (below zero) due to the nature of the density equation. In this case, the value for density is suppressed (left blank).

Can I import Signals data files from older versions?

Yes, this requires installing the HCS-3 Import Filter (delivered with release 3.1c).  After installing this component, the Signals module will be able to import HCS 1.5 and HCS-2 input files.  It is necessary to switch Files of Type to .hc9 or .sig in the File  Open dialog box.

Why are the delay and LOS values blank for some lane groups, approaches or the intersection?

If the analysis results in an estimate of greater than 999.9 seconds for a given lane group, delay and LOS values for that lane group, and subsequent approach and intersection values, are blank to indicate an out of range condition.

Why does changing the clearance times now affect the total lost time?

The yellow plus all-red clearance times are part of the total lost time calculations in the 1997 HCM (discussed on HCM Page 9-4). Users must be aware that modifying the yellow and/or all-red values in the Phasing Design may alter the total lost time being used in subsequent calculations.

How are “sneakers” accommodated in the current procedures?

The capacity of a permitted-only left-turn movement is set equal to the number of “sneakers” per cycle, multiplied by the number of cycles per hour, when the opposing movement is sufficiently congested. The number of left-turn sneakers is between 1 and 2 vehicles per cycle, computed as a function of lane configuration and volume distribution.

Why does the analysis of a single-lane T intersection approach not produce certain critical values?

Currently, in cases where there is a single LR shared lane group with no thru lane, the user must add a thru lane with no volume and a corresponding thru phase in phasing design to obtain the values dependent on critical movements, such as lost time/cycle, critical v/c and sum (v/s) critical.

Why does the Unsignal module look so different in version 3.2 ?

The HCS-Unsignal module has been completely rebuilt to match the overall architecture of the other HCS-3 modules developed at McTrans. The original module was developed by the University of Idaho as part of the project that produced the 1997 HCM Chapter 10.

Why doesn’t the program allow me to input three thru lanes on the major street in TWSC?

As stipulated in the HCM methodology, each major-street approach can have up to two thru lanes and one exclusive right and/or left turn lane. Each minor-street approach can have up to three lanes, a maximum of one lane for each movement. This is a limitation of the research on which the procedures are based.

What is the difference between “channelized” right turn and an exclusive right-turn lane?

The “Channelized” button is activated only when the right-turning traffic from the major road is separated by a triangular island and has to comply with a stop or yield sign. This is different from an exclusive right-turn lane, which does not have to stop or yield.

What is coded in the “duration” field and how does that affect the analysis?

In TWSC and AWSC, the duration in used as a factor (T) in the delay equation to model the effects of this period of analysis in situations where the degree of saturation is greater than about 0.9.  In most cases, the recommended analysis period is 15 minutes, or 0.25 hours.

When analyzing the effects of an upstream signal in TWSC, what does the “progressed flow” value represent?

Progressed flow is the sum of the feeding volume, from the upstream intersection, that moves during protected through and left turn (green arrow) phases. Approach volume at the unsignalized intersection may be higher than the upstream progressed flow because it also includes upstream left- and right-turn permitted movement flow, as well as any mid-block flow.

Did the Arterial classes change in HCS-3?

The 1997 HCM organizes arterials into four classes (a change from three classes used in the 1994 HCM). This can make a significant difference in the results. Arterial class must be coded using the revised HCM Tables 11-2 and 11-3.