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# TRAFFIC PERFORMANCE MODELS I:

## TRAFFIC FLOW THEORY AND SIMULATION

APPROACHES

Haris N. Koutsopoulos
Northeastern University

## M.I.T. Summer Professional Program 1.10s

Modeling and Simulation for Dynamic Transportation Management
Systems
July/August 2003
Outline

• Basic Elements
• Macroscopic models
– Traffic Stream Models
– Continuum Models
• Microscopic models
– Car Following Models
– Lane Changing
• Traffic Simulation Models
Basic Elements of Traffic Flow Theory

## • flow (q): number of vehicles crossing a point per unit of

time
• speed (u):
– time-mean speed ut: average speed of vehicles crossing a point
– space-mean speed us: average speed of vehicles over a
roadway segment at any given time, or based on average time
it takes to cross the segment
• concentration
– density (k): number of vehicles per unit length of roadway
– occupancy (o): percent of time a point of the road is occupied
– space headway (s): distance between two consecutive
vehicles
– time headway (h): time between passage of two consecutive
vehicles
Measurements
• Fixed Point
• Fixed Time (aerial photograph)
• Moving observer

s p a c e

L
s

t T t i m e
Time-Space Diagram: Analysis at a
Fixed Position
position
L

h1 h2 h3 h4
x

0 time
0 T
Time-Space Diagram: Analysis at a
Fixed Time
position

s1

s2

0 time
t0 t
Measurements
N
If T large then T ≈ ∑h
1
i s p a c e

•Flow
N
q =
T
L
N N 1 1
q= ≈ = =
T
∑ hi 1
N ∑ hi
_
h
t T t im e

•Density
number of vehicles in section
k=
L
Measurements
• Time-mean speed
s p a c e

n
ut =
1
N ∑
i =1
ui At a fixed location, time T
ui: instantaneous speed
L

• Space-mean speed T
t t im

1
us = Observation at fixed location over time
1
N ∑ 1
ui
T

## 1 Instantaneous photograph, speeds over

us =
1
N ∑u i section of length L

## • time-mean speed ≥ space-mean speed (typically ut = 1.06 – 1.12us)

σ s2
ut = u s +
us
Fundamental Relationship

q = us × k
where,
q: flow
us: space-mean speed
k: density
Traffic Stream Models
• Objective
– Provide fundamental relationships among
macroscopic traffic stream characteristics
for uninterrupted flow conditions
• speed-density
• flow-density
• speed-flow
Field Data (Holland Tunnel, Eddie 63)
80 1400.0

1200.0
70
Speed (km/hr)

1000.0
60

Flow (veh/hr)
800.0
50
600.0
40
400.0
30
200.0
20 0.0
10 0 20 40 60 80 100

0 Density (veh/km)

0 20 40 60 80 100
Density (veh/km)

80
70
60
Speed (km/hr)

50
40
30
20
10
0
0.0 500.0 1000.0 1500.0
Flow (veh/hr)
Relationships
Fundamental diagram
(density, speed) q
u diagram
qmax u=
q
• Structure umax 1 3 3
k

– Single regime:
uc 3 “stable”
same functional
“unstable”
form under all 1 2
2
traffic conditions kjam k
kc kjam k kc
– Multiple regime:
different models (flow, speed) diagram
for different traffic u
conditions
“stable”
uc
“unstable”

qmax q
Examples

## • Single regime models

– Greenshields’ model

k
u = u f (1 − )
kj
k
q = uk = ku f (1 − )
kj

Examples

## – Greenberg’s model  u = um ln(k j / k )

– Underwood’s model  u = uf e − k / km

Examples

##  Multiple regime models

• Edie’s model
– Uncongested region
• Underwood’s model
– Congested region
• Greenberg’s model
– Discontinuity
Speed-Density Relationships
Flow-Density Relationships

uf
us
Speed-Flow Relationships
Empirical Results
 Hall et. al. (1992)

Speed

u n c o n g e s t e d r e g io n

queue
d is c h a r g e

w ith in q u e u e

F lo w
Speed-Flow Relationship

Source: HCM
2000
Continuum Flow (Kinetic) Models
• Conservation of flow

d
x

q q
+
d
q

• density at time t: k
• density at time t+dt: k+dk
• conservation of flow: qdt + kdx = (q + dq)⋅ dt +
(k+dk)⋅ dx
∂q ∂k
+ =0
∂x ∂t
Continuum Flow (Kinetic) Models, cont’d

## • First order models (Lighthill and Whitham, Richards, LWR)

∂k ∂q
+ = g ( x, t ) Conservation of flow
∂t ∂x

## q = uk Basic equation of flow

Equilibrium speed
u = f (k )
(e.g. Greenshields’ speed-density model)

q: flow
u: space-mean speed
k: density
g(x,t): generation rate
Solution of First Order Models

• Problem:
– Given a set of initial and boundary conditions,
e. g. k0 = k(x0, 0)
– Find k(x,t)

• Solution
– Exact solution is based on the method of characteristics
(waves): lines with the same density

x = x 0 + h ( k )t
Solution of First Order Models
• Properties
– characteristics (waves) are straight lines along which the
density is constant (equal to the density at the initial point
they emanate from)

## – a disturbance at a point propagates along the characteristic

through that point

## – a disturbance travels at a speed given by the slope of the

characteristic:

dx df
uw = = h( k ) = f ( k ) + k
dt dk
Solution of First Order Models
speed, flo w , q
u = f(k ) A

d e n s ity , k d e n s ity , k

d e n s ity tim e

A
B

space

shockw ave
A

t
• Shockwave speed

w B A

u A
u B

(u A − wBA )k A = (u B − wBA )k B

u B k B − u A k A qB − q A
wBA = =
kB − k A kB − k A
q

2
q 2

w BA

q 3
3
u A
q 1
u B 1

k 1 k 2 k 3 k

## If (A, B) = (3, 2) w32 is negative (shockwave moves backward)

Example: Traffic Lights
space

time
Shockwaves at Traffic Lights (red)
Stopping waves

uw

q A − qB
qA
A u AB =
k A − kB
Flow (q)

D B
qD =0
kA kj
Density (k)
Shockwaves at Traffic Lights (green)
Starting waves

uw

C
qB= qmax
qB − qC
u BC =
k B − kC
Flow (q)

D B

kC kj
Discussion on First Order Models
• Issues
– driver differences
– motion through a shock
– stability
• Implications
– light traffic
• desired speed
• platoon formation
– restricted traffic
• instantaneous change of speed
• stop and go instabilities
High Order Continuum Flow Models

## Acceleration = f(traffic ahead, equilibrium speed, reaction time,…)

∂u ∂u
du = dt + dx, or
∂t ∂x
du ∂u ∂u
acceleration = = +u
dt ∂t ∂x
High Order Continuum Flow Models
• Example: Payne’s model
∂k ∂q
+ = g ( x, t ) conservation of flow
∂t ∂x
q = uk basic equation of flow

∂u ∂u 1  v ∂k 
acc = +u =  f (k ) − u − 
∂t ∂x T  k ∂x  dynamic speed equation

• where,
 T: reaction time, relaxation parameter
 ν : anticipation parameter
 f(k): equilibrium speed (speed-density model)

## • Rate of change of speed is a function of:

 Convection (tendency to travel upstream with current speed)

 Relaxation to equilibrium

##  Anticipation (impact off density ahead)

Microscopic Models

• Car-following
• Lane changing
• Gap acceptance
Car-Following Models

Ln −1

Vn−1 (t )
Ln
Vn (t )

∆x (t )
xn−1 (t )
xn (t )

## Common Model: Response(t) = sensitivity•stimulus(t-T)

T: reaction time
Stimulus: ∆ v (relative speed), ∆ x (relative distance)
Sensitivity: function of ∆ x, speed, traffic conditions
Response: acceleration, speed
Car-Following Models

Ln −1

Vn−1 (t )
Ln
Vn (t )

∆x (t )
xn−1 (t )
xn (t )

## GM models (Herman, Gazis)

Vn (t ) m
an (t ) = α [Vn−1 (t − T ) − Vn (t − T )]
[ ∆ x(t )] l

## an (t ) : acceleration of vehicle n at time t

α , l, m: parameters
Car-Following Models
• Distance-based models (Newell)
• Stimulus is a function of relative distance
• Psycho-physical spacing model (Wiedemann, 1974)
• reaction based on relative speed-relative distance
combinations

## • General acceleration models

– Ahmed, Ben-Akiva, Koutsopoulos (2002):
• Multiple regimes of traffic
– Free flowing
– Car-following
• Time headway threshold and reaction time distributions
General Acceleration, cont’d
• Ahmed, Ben-Akiva, Koutsopoulos (2002)
– Car following
Vn ( t − ξ τn )
β
an ( t ) = α k n ( t ) ∆Vn ( t − τ n ) + ε n ( t )
δ front ρ

∆X n ( t − ξ τn )
front γ

– Free flowing

[
an ( t ) = λ V n
desired
( t ) − Vn ( t − τ n ) ] + υ n ( t )
– Distributed headway threshold and reaction time
Car-following and Traffic Stream Models
m–>

Vn (t ) m
an (t ) = α ∆ V (t − T )
[ ∆ x(t )] l

## • Are car-following and

traffic stream models
consistent?

single lane conditions
integration of car-
following models results
in traffic stream models
Flow Models Derived from Car-Following
Models
Vn (t ) m
an (t ) = α ∆V (t − T )
[ ∆x(t )] l

## l m Flow vs. density

0 0 
q = qm 1 −
k 

 k jam 
 

1 0  k jam 
q = uc k ln  
 k 

1.5 0   k 0.5
 
q = u max k 1 −   
  k  
  jam  
 k 
2 0 q = u max 1 − 
 k jam 
 

2 1  k 
q = u max k exp 1 − 
 k jam 
 

3 1  1 k 2
 
q = u max k exp −   
 2
 k jam

 
 
Lane Changing Models

## • Mandatory and discretionary lane-changing

– mandatory: getting off the current lane in order to
continue on the desired path (e.g. exiting), or to
avoid lane closure
– discretionary: attempting to achieve desired
speed, avoid following trucks, avoid merging
traffic, etc.
Lane-changing, cont’d

## • Ahmed, Ben-Akiva, Koutsopoulos (1999):

– Mandatory and discretionary
– 3 levels
• Decision to consider lane change
• Target lane choice for DLC
– Random utility framework
• Gap acceptance
– Forced merging
Dimensions of Lane Changing
S ta rt

M L C M L C

d r iv in g d r iv in g
c o n d itio n s n o t c o n d it io n s
s a tis fa c t o r y s a t is fa c to r y

o th e r c u rre n t
la n e s la n e

L e ft L a n e R ig h t L a n e L e ft L a n e R ig h t L a n e

G a p G a p G a p G a p G a p G a p G a p G a p
A cce p t R e je c t A cce p t R e je c t A cce p t R e je c t A cce p t R e je c t

## L e ft C u rre n t R ig h t C u rre n t L e ft C u rre n t R ig h t C u r r e n t C u r r e n tC u r r e n t

La n e L a n e L a n e L an e L a n e L a n e L a n e L a ne L a n e L a n e
Gap Acceptance
• Critical Gap
• if available gap < critical gap: reject the gap
• if available gap >= critical gap: accept the gap
• Critical gap is a
A
C
B function of:
– Relative speed
– First gap
total gap
– Number of gaps
rejected
The Critical Gap is Function of explanatory variables
Gng (t) = exp[Xng (t)β g + ε ng (t)]
– Remaining length
(mandatory lane
Prob(a gap is accepted) = Prob(lead and lag gaps are accepted) =
changing)
= Pr( Gtn > Gcr ,tn and Gtn > Gcr ,tn |ν n ) – Other opportunities
 ln( G lead ) - β lead X lead   lag lag lag  – Traffic conditions
= Φ tn tn  * Φ ln( Gtn ) - β X tn 
 σ ε ,lead   σ ε ,lag 
   
Limitations of Existing Models
• Independent behaviors
– Acceleration and lane-changing
– Mandatory and discretionary lane changing
• Reactive
– No anticipation
• Myopic
– No planning

D C B
Other Traffic Performance Models
• Delay models
– Queuing theory (deterministic and stochastic approaches)
c u m u la t iv e
c u m u la tiv e
a r r iv a ls , a r r iv a ls
d e p a rtu re s C
d e la y o f v e h ic le
a r r iv in g a t tim e t B c u m u la tiv e
d e p a rtu re s
Average delay =
Area(ABC)
m a x im u m d e la y
# of vehicles

A m ax queue

t0 t tim e

– Empirical models
• Simulation models
– Synthesis of traffic theory models, delay models, traffic
dynamics representation
Simulation Models
• Definition
– “… the process of designing a model of a real
system and conducting experiments with this
model for the purpose either of understanding the
behavior of the system or of evaluating various
strategies (within the limits imposed by a criterion
or set of criteria) for the operation of the system”
(Shannon, 1975)
• Approaches
– Discrete event
• synchronous
• Asynchronous
– Continuous time
– Hybrid
Simulation Models
• Functionality and level of detail
– Network representation
– Flow representation
– Traffic dynamics
– Support of control strategies
– Surveillance
– Travel behavior/demand
• Overall structure
– Event-based
– Time-based
• Output
– Measures of effectiveness (MOE’s)
Level of Detail
• Based on their flow and traffic dynamics
representation traffic simulation models are
characterized as:
– Macroscopic
• Fluid representation of flow
• Time and space discretization
– Mesoscopic
• Individual vehicle representation
• Continuous space
• Usually discrete time
– Microscopic
• Individual vehicle representation
• Traffic dynamics through vehicle interactions and
movements
– Nanoscopic
• Many common elements with microscopic
• Detailed representation of vehicle dynamics
Overall Structure
Time- vs. Event-Based Simulation

## • Time-based models advance the clock at fixed

intervals ∆ t
∆ t may be different for different processes
– choice of ∆ t important for
• Efficiency
• Accuracy
• Event-based models maintain an event list. First
event in the list is processed next
– sequencing of events may be difficult
– less control over efficiency
Macroscopic Model Characteristics
• In effect numerical solutions to continuum flow models
• Usually deterministic
• Common for evaluation of freeway corridor operations
• Traffic dynamics
– queuing theory
– kinetic theory
• simple input/output
• simple continuum
• high order continuum
• Basic approach
– numerical solution of kinetic equations
– discretization of space and time
General Approach
• define a grid of points (n, j) in the time-space domain
• replace derivatives by finite differences
• Forward, Backward, Central
• Lax-Friedrich’s scheme
• Codunov’s finite difference approximation

k nj + 1 − k nj qnj+ 1 − q nj
forward: ,
n + 1 ∆t ∆x
k nj + 1 − k nj −1 qnj+ 1 − qnj− 1
central: ,
n 2∆ t 2∆ x
1
k nj + 1 − ( k nj+ 1 + k nj− 1 ) qn − qn
2 j +1 j −1
n + 1 Lax: ,
∆t 2∆ x

j - 1 j j + 1 x
Macroscopic Model Example
Numerical solution based on Lax’s method

gj,2n
qj-1n qjn qj+1n
kjn, ujn

j-1 j j+1

gj,1n

xj-1 ∆
xj ∆
xj+1

k n +1
j
1 n
= (k j −1 + k j +1 ) +
2
n ∆t
2∆x j
[
q nj−1 − q nj+1 + α j g nj ]
n +1 n +1 n +1 n +1 n +1
q j =k j ⋅u j =k j ⋅ f (k j )
α j coefficient for converting flow to density (e.g.
Payne’s model (High Order)

qj-1n
gj,2n

kjn, ujn
qjn k n +1
j =k +n
j
∆t
∆x j
[
(q nj−1 − q nj ) +( g nj,1 − g nj, 2 ) ]

n +1
gj,1n
q j = k ⋅u n
j
n
j

xj

¿
¿
1
 u nj⋅ u nj −u nj −1   convection
Δx j
¿
1
  ⋅[ u nj − f  k nj  ]  relaxation
T
u n1
j =u nj − Δt ×¿ { ¿ ¿ ¿
¿
¿
¿
Macroscopic Models: Examples

## Freeway management Deterministic,

FREFLO Payne, et. al.
strategies Kinematic theory
Freeway corridor simulation Deterministic,
FREQ May, et. al. and optimization (ramp Input/Output
metering) analysis
Freeway operations Deterministic,
KRONOS evaluation, incidents, work Kinematic theory,
Michalopoulos et. al.
zones continuum model
Freeway corridors, ramp
Deterministic,
METACOR Papageorgiou et. al. metering strategies and
continuum model
traffic control
cell transmission
model,
NETCELL Daganzo, et. al. Freeway networks
hydrodynamic
theory
evaluation of alternative
NETVAC Sheffi et. al. network evacuation traffic flow models
strategies
NETCELL (Daganzo)
• Characteristics
– Dynamic evolution of multi-commodity
traffic over large scale freeway networks
– Links divided into cells traversed in one
simulation step (under free flow speed)
– Consistent with hydrodynamic theory of flow
(cell transmission model)
– Time-based, with an event list
• Inputs
– network geometry
– incidents
– O-D flows
– routing information
NETCELL, cont’d
• Principles (example)

c e ll i

f lo w

q m ax

v -v

kj
d e n s it y
NETCELL, cont’d

## ni(t+1) = ni(t) + yi(t) - yi+1 (t)

yi(t) = min { ni-1 (t), Qi(t), Ni(t) - ni(t) }

l: length of cell
ni(t): number of vehicles in cell i at time t
Ni(t): max number of vehicles in cell i
Qi(t): capacity flow into i for time interval t, and
yi(t): number of vehicles that flow from cell i-1 to cell i in (t, t+1)

## Note: results are independent of the processing order of cells

• Debate: first order vs. high order models
– theoretical considerations
– empirical evidence
• Recent developments include
– effects due to lane drops
– freeway-to-freeway interactions
– bus effects
• Importance of method for numerical solution
• Numerical solution requires appropriate discretization of time and
space

∆x
e. g. ≥ free flow speed u f
∆t
– data requirements
– execution speed
• Usual output: aggregate measures of
performance
– queue lengths
– speed contours
– total delay
– total travel time
– fuel/pollution statistics
Mesoscopic Traffic Simulation Models

• Flow Representation
• individual vehicles or groups of vehicles with similar
characteristics (packets)
• Traffic Dynamics
• fluid approximation
• queuing theory
• Network Representation
• integrated networks or corridors
• lane-based
• Traffic Control
• aggregate by equivalent capacities
• Detailed
• Structure
• time-based
Mesoscopic Simulation Models: Examples
operations evaluation, packets of vehicles,
CONTRAM TRRL planning, pseudo - queue evolution,
dynamic assignment PC implementation
DTASQ Mahut, Florian ITS, DTA Time-space queu ing model
several levels of vehicle
aggregation, speed -flow
ITS operations
Ben Akiva, relationships and
DynaMIT, Supply evaluation control
Koutsopoulos deterministic queuing,
simulator strategy generation,
distributed implementati on,
DTA
UNIX platforms
ITS operations
individual vehicles,
DYNASMART evaluation, control
Mahmassani speed-flow relationshi ps,
(DYNASMART -X) strategy generation,
UNIX implementation,
DTA
ITS
Schwerdtfeger individual vehicles
DYNEMO short-term traffic
PTV speed-density relationships
prediction
platoon-based movement
INTEGRATION* ITS operations of individual vehicles,
Van Aerde
evaluation PC implementation
METROPOLIS Planning, ITS, DTA deterministic queuing,
DePalma
PC implementation

## * Microscopic version has also been developed

Microscopic Traffic Simulation Models

• Detailed
• Synthesis of models
• Driving behavior
• Travel behavior
• Control and routing strategies
• Driver classes
• Integrated networks (freeways, urban streets)
• Usually time-based (e.g. 0.1 sec. time step)
• Stochastic
Microscopic Traffic Simulation:
Application Needs
100%
91%

88%

83%
90%

81%

78%

74%

74%
80%

69%

63%
70%
60%

50%
40%
30%
20%

10%
0%
Transport Telematics Functions

## Adaptive traffic signals Co-ordinated traffic signals

Priority to Public Transport vehicles Vehicle Detectors
Ramp metering Incident management
Variable Message signs Dynamic Route Guidance
Motorw ay flow control
Microscopic Traffic Simulation:
Functionality Needs
crucial important useful not important not sure missing

incidents

## public transport stops

commercial vehicles

pedestrians

## t raffic calming measures

parked vehicles

bicycles/motorbikes

## 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Percent

90% 100%
Examples of Microscopic Simulation Models
AIMSUN 2 Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain
ANATOLL ISIS and Centre d’Etudes Techniques de l’Equipement France
ARTEMiS University of New South Wales, School of Civil Engineering Australia
ARTIST Bosch Germany
CASIMIR Institut National de Recherche sur les Transports et la Sécurité France
DRACULA Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds UK
FLEXSYT II Ministry of Transport Netherlands
FREEVU University of Waterloo, Department of Civil Engineering Canada
HUTSIM Helsinki University of Technology Finland
INTEGRATION Queen’s University, Transportation Research Group Canada
MELROSE Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Japan
MICROSIM Centre of parallel computing (ZPR), University of Cologne Germany
MICSTRAN National Research Institute of Police Science Japan
MITSIMLab Massachusetts Institute of Technology USA
NEMIS Mizar Automazione, Turin Italy
Examples of Microscopic Simulation Models, cont’d

## PADSIM Nottingham Trent University – NTU UK

PARAMICS The Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre and Quadstone UK
PHAROS Institute for simulation and training USA
PLANSIM-T Centre of parallel computing (ZPR), University of Cologne Germany
SIGSIM University of Newcastle UK
SIMDAC ONERA – Centre d'Etudes et de Recherche de Toulouse France
SIMNET Technical University Berlin Germany
SISTM Transport Research Laboratory, Crowthorne UK
SITRA-B+ ONERA – Centre d'Etudes et de Recherche de Toulouse France
TRANSIMS Los Alamos National Laboratory USA
THOREAU The MITRE Corporation USA
VISSIM PTV System Software and Consulting GMBH Germany

## A detailed description of microscopic models can be found in:

www.its.leeds.ac.uk/smartest
TRANSIMS Microsimulation
intersection with multiple
turn buffers (not internally
divided into grid cells)
single-cell vehicle

multiple-cell vehicle

## 7.5 meter × 1 lane cellular

automaton grid cells
TRANSIMS Microsimulation, cont’d

## • For all particles i simultaneously

– IF ( vi > gapi ⇒ deceleration)
 gapi − 1 with probability p
vi = 
 gapi otherwise

## – ELSE IF (vi < vmax ⇒ acceleration)

vi with probability p
vi = 
vi + 1 otherwise

## vmax - 1 with probability p

vi = 
vmax otherwise
Nanoscopic Simulation Models
• General characteristics
– detailed driver behavior
– detailed vehicle dynamics model
– detailed vehicle-drive interactions
Model Organization Country
Collision Warning
TRW USA
Simulator
REAMACS (Rear-end
Ford USA
Collision Model)
RORSIM (Run-off-
Battele USA
AUTOBAHN Thomas Benz Germany
Transport Research
MIXIC Center of Netherlands
Rijkswaterstaat
SmartAHS PATH USA
Applications of Traffic Simulation Models

## • Evaluation at the planning and policy level

• Evaluation at the operational level
– traffic control
– intersection/urban street operations
– freeway corridors
– ITS
– Automated Highway Systems (AHS)
– Public transportation
• Design
– Optimization
Applications of Traffic Simulation Models
• Real time decision support systems
– Prediction
– Strategy design/evaluation
• route guidance
• traffic control
• Research and development
– New concepts and algorithms
• Role
– used independently
– elements of larger systems
• supply representation
Applications of Traffic Simulation Models

## Application Off-line On-line

Evaluation/Design, Control/Guidance
Simulation Planning Optimization
Type
√ √
Macro e.g. METANET e.g. METANET

√ √
Meso e.g. DYNASMART e.g. DynaMIT,
DYNASMART -X

Micro e.g. MITSIMLab

Nano √
Summary
• Integrated networks
• Traffic dynamics
– queue build-up and spillbacks
• Travel behavior and demand
• Driver characteristics and vehicle
classes
• Dynamic Traffic Management
• Trends
– Hybrid models
• Model complexity
• inputs
• Calibration
• Validation
• program is a close approximation to reality
• Estimation and calibration
• Output analysis
• large amounts of output
• interpretation of results
• Sources of error
• functional
• distributional
• independence
• aggregation
• boundary effects