Review of maritime traffic models from vessel behavior modeling perspective

Yang Zhou*, Winnie Daamen, Tiedo Vellinga, Serge Hoogendoorn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


The importance of maritime transport keeps increasing with the trade globalization. With the growing demand for waterborne transport, vessel traffic flows are also expected to increase. This paper reviews maritime traffic models from the vessel behavior modeling perspective. The maritime traffic models include the models for vessel traffic both at sea and in confined water area. The aim of this paper is to analyze the underlying modeling paradigms and to assess the extent in which maritime traffic models can represent vessel behavior. Focusing on vessel behavior modeling, this paper provides a broad overview of the current literature on maritime traffic models of the last decades. The commercial models are not included due to the limit of information. To compare the capabilities of models in capturing the vessel behavior characteristics, the considered models are assessed from different aspects of vessel behavior representation, external impact modeling, and model applicability. The assessment shows that none of the existing models describe all dynamic kinetic information in detail for different vessels and consider the impacts from a full range of external factors, which is possibly due to the specific purpose when the models were developed. The models developed for specific vessels in specific situations ignore the irrespective behavioral details in other possible scenarios. Models without proper calibration and validation limit the applicability in other cases. It also indicates that few models can accurately simulate the different vessel behavior at a microscopic level. To investigate the possible potential and limitations, the models have been assessed and discussed to indicate the underlying modeling paradigms based on the modeling characteristics. Future developments can focus on the behavior of different vessels in different types of water areas and the corresponding impacts from external conditions (e.g. visibility, wind, current), vessel encounters and traffic rules. Through calibration and validation, future models should be able to fit the vessel behavior in real-life situations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-345
Number of pages23
JournalTransportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Assessment
  • Comparison
  • Individual behavioral law
  • Maritime traffic
  • Simulation model
  • Vessel behavior


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