Genetics of traffic assignment models for strategic transport planning

Michiel C J Bliemer*, MPH Raadsen, Luuk J N Brederode, MGH Bell, Luc J J Wismans, Mike J. Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
92 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents a review and classification of traffic assignment models for strategic transport planning purposes by using concepts analogous to genetics in biology. Traffic assignment models share the same theoretical framework (DNA), but differ in capability (genes). We argue that all traffic assignment models can be described by three genes. The first gene determines the spatial capability (unrestricted, capacity restrained, capacity constrained, and capacity and storage constrained) described by four spatial assumptions (shape of the fundamental diagram, capacity constraints, storage constraints, and turn flow restrictions). The second gene determines the temporal capability (static, semi-dynamic, and dynamic) described by three temporal assumptions (wave speeds, vehicle propagation speeds, and residual traffic transfer). The third gene determines the behavioural capability (all-or-nothing, one shot, and equilibrium) described by two behavioural assumptions (decision-making and travel time consideration). This classification provides a deeper understanding of the often implicit assumptions made in traffic assignment models described in the literature. It further allows for comparing different models in terms of functionality, and paves the way for developing novel traffic assignment models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-78
Number of pages22
JournalTransport Reviews: a transnational, transdisciplinary journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2016


  • behavioural assumptions
  • fundamental diagram
  • model capabilities
  • spatial assumptions
  • strategic transport planning
  • temporal assumptions
  • Traffic assignment

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