HCS 2000™

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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 HCS2000 registration number available if you call. It can be found by choosing Help then “About HCS2000″ on the Main Menu. Your registration number is just below the header information.

Does the upgrade from HCS-3 to HCS2000 add new modules, upgrade only changed ones, or is it a complete, new set?

This release comprises a complete installation of HCS in which Freeways, Weaving, Ramps, Multilane, TwoLane, Signals, Unsignal, Arterials (Urban Streets), Transit and the Main Menu have been upgraded. Freeway Facilities is incorporated as a spreadsheet with a new module in development. New versions of other modules (Pedestrians and Bicycles) are being planned.

What changed from HCS-3 to HCS2000?

New features include:

  • Formatted Reports: An optional report which presents the results in an web-like format (HTML) just like the HCM2000 worksheets can be viewed and printed upon request. This feature is now available in the Signals, Unsignal, Arterials, Freeways and Multilane modules and will be provided in the other modules as automatic updates. By selecting the Formatted Report button on the toolbar, the lower pane will display the report selected in the pull-down “quick jump” list in this form.IMPORTANT: It is strongly recommended that the Text View be selected while entering or modifying data.In this release, users must have version 5.01 or higher (version 5.5SP1 or higher preferred) of the Internet Explorer and make sure the setting in “Tools > Internet Options > Advanced > Printing” is set to “Print background colors and images” for these reports to be properly displayed and printed. To suppress the automatic header and/or footer (if desired), simply blank the appropriate field(s) in the “File > Page Setup” screen. Windows should be set to small fonts (display properties) and the Internet Explorer should be set to medium fonts (View…Text Size) for best results on most systems.Note that Internet Explorer need not be the default browser, and other browsers (such as Firefox) may continue to be used. Internet Explorer need only be installed. Users that do not have Internet Explorer will be able to use HCS2000 but will not have the added functionality of Formatted Reports.
  • Quick Entry Screen:  An optional screen provides for lane configuration and volume data entry for intersection analysis in the Signals and Unsignals modules. This screen interacts with the normal data entry screen to maintain consistent data in both.
  • Global Field Spinners: Initially in the Signals and Unsignal (TWSC only initially), global spinners are provided for updating the PHF (more fields coming) in all movements at once.  Additionally, a sensitivity analysis can be performed by using the spinner provided in the volume field to increment all volumes by a specified percentage.

HCS2000 incorporates the procedures as prescribed in the new Highway Capacity Manual (HCM2000) as described in general below:

  • Basic Freeway Segments: HCM Chapter 23 (1997 HCM Chapter 3) uses revised passenger-car equivalents for heavy-vehicle factors with slight changes in LOS thresholds and free flow speeds due to metric conversion.
  • Freeway Weaving: HCM Chapter 24 (1997 HCM Chapter 4) uses revised passenger-car equivalents for heavy-vehicle factors, recalibrated speed equations in metric units, and redefines the capacity/breakdown conditions.
  • Ramps and Ramp Junctions: HCM Chapter 25 (1997 HCM Chapter 5) uses revised passenger-car equivalents for heavy-vehicle factors, streamlines the process of determining when a ramp junction is isolated or affected by nearby ramps, and clarifies breakdown conditions for predicting speeds across all lanes, not just lanes 1 and 2, for facility analysis.
  • Multilane Highways: HCM Chapter 21 (1997 HCM Chapter 7) uses revised passenger-car equivalents for heavy-vehicle factors with minor changes in the LOS thresholds.
  • Two-Lane Highways: CM Chapter 20 (1997 HCM Chapter 8) incorporates a new methodology based on speed and percent time spent following (PTSF), using two classes of two-lane highways, each having its own LOS criteria, with the base capacity increased from 2,800 to 3,200 pcph in both directions. A new directional analysis gives speed and PTSF with MOE-specific heavy-vehicle factors and the capability to analyze  passing lanes.
  • Signalized Intersections: HCM2000 Chapter 16 (1997 HCM Chapter 9) incorporated two major additions, includingnew saturation flow adjustment factors for pedestrians, bicycles and protected-permissive left turns from shared lanes and added a maximum back of queue length estimation for the average and several percentile values.
  • Unsignalized Intersections: HCM Chapter 17 (1997 HCM Chapter 10) modified the flared right-turn procedure with other changes incorporated in the 1997 HCM.
  • Urban Streets: HCM2000 Chapter 15 (1997 HCM Chapter 11) was renamed from Arterial Streets with all other changes incorporated in the 1997 HCM.
  • Transit: HCM Chapter 27 (1997 HCM Chapter 12) incorporates a new methodology that focuses on service availability and quality, and emphasizes bus operation on surface streets.
  • Freeway Facilities: HCM Chapter 22 (1997 HCM Chapter 6) incorporates a new set of procedures to provide quality of service for directional freeway facilities. This analysis permits the analysis of multiple contiguous segments over multiple time intervals and integrates the methods in HCM Chapters 23, 24 and 25 for undersaturated analysis and extends these methods to oversaturatedconditions. Demand and/or capacity can vary in each time interval for any segment and the effect of traffic incidents, geometric  improvement and ramp metering can be tested, with queues on the freeway mainline and ramps predicted at the end of each time interval. The HOV analysis is limited with only performance measures given without a facility-wide LOS.(Note: This module has been initially implemented as a research-level spreadsheet.)
  • Pedestrians: HCM Chapter 18 (1997 HCM Chapter 13)updated and expanded on pedestrian characteristics data, added a new analyses for shared ped-bike paths and now bases intersection LOS primarily on pedestrian delay. (Note: This module has not yet been implemented in HCS2000.)
  • Bicycles: HCM Chapter 19 (1997 HCM Chapter 14) incorporates a newmethodology and provides exclusive and shared bike path analysis is based on passing/meeting with LOS is based on speed and delay on the urban street. (Note: This module has not yet been implemented in HCS2000.)
I double clicked on an HCS2000 menu icon and the corresponding chapter opened twice.

Modules are launched from the HCS2000 menu using pushbuttons. These are activated by a single click of the mouse, so multiple clicks will result in multiple instances of a module.

Are all XML files compatible with all versions of HCS2000?

All XML data sets must be created with and read by version 4.1d to ensure data integrity.

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 HCS2000, 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?

HCS2000 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.

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.

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.

In a diverge analysis, why does a two-lane off ramp with a single-lane deceleration lane use a longer length?

The geometry illustrated in the second example shown in HCM Exhibit 25-15 requires coding the actual deceleration length in the “Length of Second Deceleration Lane, LD2″ and leaving the “Length of First Deceleration Lane, LD1″ equal to zero, for the correct deceleration length to be used in the calculations.

Which freeway volume is entered relative to the analysis ramp?

The freeway volume is always immediately upstream of the analysis ramp, in either a merge or diverge analysis, as illustrated in HCM 2000 Exhibit 25-2.

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).

How do I code phasing where the overlapping green time is shorter than the clearance (yellow plus all-red) time?

The key in this situation is to maintain the proper effective green times for all lane groups. The recommended coding procedure is as follows:

  • Code the actual green time for the non-overlapping left-turn movement in the first phase, but eliminate the clearance times (coding 0.0 for both yellow and all-red).
  • Code the additional time allocated to the overlapping left-turn phase as the overlap (second) phase actual green time with the displayed clearance (yellow plus all-red) time.
  • Increase the Start-up Lost Time for the Thru movement in the overlap (second) phase by the amount of clearance (yellow plus all-red) removed from the first phase.

This should result in correct effective green times (and g/C ratios) for all affected movements while maintaining the correct cycle length.

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 HCM2000 (discussed on HCM Page 10-13). 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 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.