Getting the Human Factor into Traffic Flow Model: New Open-Source Design to Simulate Next Generation of Traffic Operations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Automated driving may lead to much higher road capacities, combined with increased road safety, increased driver comfort, and lower costs. Although this vision may hold ground in the long run, first a transitional period will take place in which increasing percentages of vehicles with many levels of automation will drive on the world’s road networks. This transition poses a fundamental scientific challenge. The models used today to simulate and predict vehicular traffic are not valid to predict emergent properties of traffic flows under increasing amounts of vehicle automation. For example, there is no idea of how drivers of nonautomated vehicles will respond to other drivers reading their morning papers behind the steering wheel or the consequences of such interactions on traffic safety and capacity. In this paper, the authors do not propose a new behavioral theory with which the effects of increasing vehicle automation can be predicted. What the authors propose is an advanced open-source simulation framework, OpenTrafficSim, which makes it possible to extend microscopic models incrementally with explanatory mental models, such that new behavioral theories can be tested and shared within the community. Given the societal importance of predicting the effects on safety and efficiency of vehicle automation, the authors sincerely hope this paper will fuel the discussion on how both open-source and closed-source simulation software can be adapted and made ready for the next generation of traffic simulation models that are needed in the coming decades.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25–33
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Record
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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