...now here's your chance to do something about it! Here's a cool traffic simulator that allows you to play what-if scenarios with different traffic conditions.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Gene's picture
Gene says:

Try this:

  1. Select option 1 -- "Ring Road."
  2. Reduce the Average Density as low as it will go.
  3. Now, slowly increase the Density, 1 car at a time

Traffic flows pretty smoothly, until you get to about 25 vehicles per kilometer per lane. Then you start getting these moving back-ups despite the fact that there are no accidents or lane obstructions!

posted on Fri, 03/16/2007 - 10:21am
Bill Ruhsam's picture

Ironically, (well no, the sim is probably designed this way) that 25 veh/km/lane threshold is right where the U.S. Highway Capacity Manual marks the limit of capacity of a freeway (level of service E for traffic geeks).

This simulation is capable of vastly exceeding the possible traffic throughput of an actual roadway, but, it's fun to play with it and see what sorts of shock waves you can build.

posted on Mon, 03/19/2007 - 7:57am
bryan kennedy's picture

Are you aware of any more realistic traffic simulators? Either on the web or as a more stand alone piece of software. I wonder what they are using in the industry to study these problems?

posted on Mon, 03/19/2007 - 10:09am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

There are numerous traffic modeling packages, but I don't know of any freeware or shareware. For name dropping there is Synchro/Simtraffic, CORSIM, Vissim, just to name a few. These are all high-dollar software packages with steep learning curves.

If you do find any shareware, please let me know.

posted on Mon, 03/19/2007 - 10:23am
Bill Ruhsam's picture
Bill Ruhsam says:

For some reason that came across as Anonymous. Whoops.

posted on Mon, 03/19/2007 - 10:42am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

German researchers are developing a system to network cars, so that information about road hazards and traffic conditions can be shared. Driver will learn of potential problems ahead of time, and perhaps can take alternate routes.

posted on Mon, 03/19/2007 - 11:21am
Bill Ruhsam's picture
Bill Ruhsam says:

There is some similar work going on at various institutions in the U.S. including the Georgia Institute of Technology. So far it's very experimental, but there are high hopes for this sort of smart infrastructure. This is also being used as a distributed computing/transmitting network, to avoid needing to place a thousand different cellular broadcast stations or millions of feet of cabling. Each vehicle or infrastructure node would communicate with the ones around it, and messages would be passed up and down the system in a packet format.

It's all very cool.

posted on Mon, 03/19/2007 - 12:12pm

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