How do I control and manage model runs?

Run Configuration

Once Python paths and versions are defined and installed, inputs must be provided and configuration settings specified. Input locations and run settings are controlled centrally from the file "". This is a Python script, but it simply holds variable definitions which are passed into other scripts when the model runs. The input configuration contains paths to input directories, scenario names and analysis years, and also controls number of iterations and convergence criteria. Additionally, it allows finer control over specific model components. For instance, all demand, skimming, and assignment iterations can be turned off, and only specific summarization scripts run, or the model can be set to stop after importing certain input files. Scroll to the end of the Variable value field, add paste the directory to the 7zip exe (ensuring it is separated with a semicolon from previous fields).

Scenarios and input paths are defined as follows by default. Users must point to the location of these inputs and ensure the inputs follow a format as defined later in this guide.

- base_year = '2010'  # This should always be 2010 unless the base year changes
- scenario_name = '2040'
- daysim_code = 'R:/soundcast/daysim' 
- master_project = 'LoadTripTables'
- base_inputs = 'R:/soundcast/inputs/' + scenario_name
- network_buffer_inputs = 'R:/soundcast/inputs/parcel_buffering_network/parcel_buff_network_inputs.7z'
- network_buffer_code = 'R:/SoundCast/util/parcel_buffering/'

The following variables act as control parameters for the model. They are mostly self-explanatory by their variable name.

- run_update_parking = False
- run_convert_hhinc_2000_2010 = False
- run_parcel_buffering = True
- run_copy_daysim_code = True
- run_setup_emme_project_folders = True
- run_setup_emme_bank_folders = True
- run_copy_large_inputs = True
- run_import_networks = True
- run_skims_and_paths_seed_trips = True
- should_build_shadow_price =True
- run_skims_and_paths = True
- run_truck_model = True
- run_supplemental_trips = True
- run_daysim = True
- run_parcel_buffer_summary = True
- run_network_summary = True
- run_soundcast_summary = True
- run_travel_time_summary = True
- run_create_daily_bank = True

For a basic run, these variables can be left in their default state as stored in the GitHub repository. This applies for all other variables in the input_configuration file, aside from the input directories listed above, which must be defined appropriately by the user.

Other important parameters that the user may which to adjust are the number of defined model iterations and population sample settings.

- pop_sample = [10, 5, 1, 1, 1, 1]   
- shadow_work = [1, 1, 1, 1]
- shadow_con = 10 #%RMSE for shadow pricing to consider being converged
- parallel_instances = 12   # Number of simultaneous parallel processes. Must be a factor of 12.
- max_iter = 50             # Assignment Convergence Criteria
- best_relative_gap = 0.01  # Assignment Convergence Criteria
- relative_gap = .0001
- normalized_gap = 0.01

The population sample (pop_sample) is a list of population sample proportions for each iteration to be produced by the DaySim demand models. In the example above, the 10 implies 1/10th of the population will be modeled (to save time for the first pass), and 5 implies 1/5th, whereas 1 represents a full population run. The length of the list represents the number of times the model might be run, if it doesn't first converge.

The "shadow_work" variable represents the number of iterations for which shadow pricing will be run. This is an important part of the demand models, but consumes significant run time; the parameter should only be changed with good reason.

The remaining variables in input_configuration are not intended to be changed by the user. Many are definitions that should not change, except with major model revisions. They're stored in this file for consistency, rather than scattering variable definitions across a number of scripts.


Soundcast inputs will be provided as a zipped folder to users. However, at this time, inputs will only be available to users with authorized access to use Washington State's highly employment disaggregate data. PSRC is still working through solutions to provide model access to all users without access to this sensitive data.

For users that are able to receive the input, the folder should be unzipped and stored on a local drive. The path must be specified in "" and folder structure should not be changed. Soundcast copies all inputs into the local Soundcast directory to keep paths consistent, and allows for a central storage point of different model inputs. Input folders will typically be named to represent the land use and network year, e.g., 2010 or 2040.

The inputs directory should be structured as follows:

- 4k    # inputs for truck model, based on estimates from trip-based 4k model
    - auto.h5
    - transit.h5
- etc
    - daysim_outputs_seed_trips.h5    # seed trips to use on first iteration of DaySim
    - survey.h5    # 2006 household travel survey for DaySim estimation validation summaries
- landuse
    - buffered_parcels.dat
    - daily_parking_costs.csv
    - hh_and_persons.h5
    - hourly_parking_costs.csv
    - parcels_military.csv    # Military employment data
    - parcels_urbansim.txt    # Primary land-use data at the parcel level
    - schema.ini
- networks
    ... (roadway, transit, and turns network files for 5 times of day: am, md, pm, ev, ni)
    - vehicles.txt    # list of transit vehicles and characteristics
    - modes.txt    # list of modes and their characteristics
    - fixes
        - ferries
            ... (roadway ferry flags for 5 times of day: am, md, pm, ev, ni)
    - rdly
        - am_rdly.txt
        ... (rdly.txt for 5 times of day: am, md, pm, ev, ni)
    - various shapefiles for showing smooth network shapes, rather than blocky network topology. Edges 0-4 correspond to 5 times of day, in order: am, md, pm, ev, ni
- supplemental
    - generation
    - distribution
    - trips
- tolls
- trucks
    - districts19_ga.ens
    - input_skims.txt
    - matrix_balancing_spec.txt
    - matric_calc_spec.txt
    - truck_gen_calc_dict.txt
    - truck_matrices_dict.txt

Running the Model

Once the inputs have been properly structured and configuration defined, Soundcast can be started with a single command-line prompt. Open a command prompt and navigate to the location the soundcast directory. In the main directory, type:

- python

This will call the run_soundcast script in Python, which is the master script file to start the model. Depending on the modules specified to run in input_configuration, Soundcast will be spawn its different processes. For a new run, this includes copying inputs into the local Soundcast directory, creating new directories to store outputs, initializing Emme projects, and finally starting an iteration of DaySim demand models and assignment. The model should run until convergence, or until maximum numbers of global iterations are attained, and (if specified) produce summary files and end.

Log Files

The Soundcast run can be monitored in the command prompt, since many functions include print statements, but since it takes many hours to complete a run, all important status outputs are stored in log files in the main Soundcast directory. The two primary log files are:

- soundcast_log.txt
- skims_log.txt

The soundcast log contains high-level informatino about when different modules of the run began and were completed. Here's an example from the first 2 iterations of a soundcast log:

06/02/2015 11:25:39 AM ------------------------NEW RUN STARTING---------------------------------------
06/02/2015 11:26:11 AM  build_seed_skims starting
06/02/2015 07:39:14 PM build_seed_skims took 8:13:03.651000
06/02/2015 07:39:15 PM We're on iteration 0

06/02/2015 07:39:15 PM starting run 2015-06-02 19:39:15.084000
06/02/2015 07:39:15 PM  modify_config starting
06/02/2015 07:39:15 PM modify_config took 0:00:00
06/02/2015 07:39:15 PM  daysim_assignment starting
06/02/2015 07:39:15 PM Start of 0 iteration of Daysim
06/02/2015 08:28:47 PM End of 0 iteration of Daysim
06/02/2015 08:47:46 PM Start of 0 iteration of Skims and Paths
06/03/2015 09:03:20 AM End of 0 iteration of Skims and Paths
06/03/2015 09:03:20 AM daysim_assignment took 13:24:05.685000
06/03/2015 09:03:20 AM  check_convergence starting
06/03/2015 09:03:20 AM check_convergence took 0:00:00
06/03/2015 09:03:20 AM We're on iteration 1

06/03/2015 09:03:20 AM starting run 2015-06-03 09:03:20.784000
06/03/2015 09:03:20 AM  modify_config starting
06/03/2015 09:03:20 AM modify_config took 0:00:00
06/03/2015 09:03:20 AM  daysim_assignment starting
06/03/2015 09:03:20 AM Start of 1 iteration of Daysim
06/03/2015 10:33:40 AM End of 1 iteration of Daysim
06/03/2015 10:40:47 AM Start of 1 iteration of Skims and Paths
06/03/2015 02:09:30 PM End of 1 iteration of Skims and Paths
06/03/2015 02:09:30 PM daysim_assignment took 5:06:09.604000
06/03/2015 02:09:30 PM  check_convergence starting
06/03/2015 02:09:30 PM check_convergence took 0:00:00.015000
06/03/2015 02:09:30 PM We're on iteration 2

The skims log provides details on when each assignment and skimming script began, how long it took to complete, and the resulting relative gap, for each user class and time of day.