Understanding and Modelling Disorderly Traffic Streams

  • Partha ChakrobortyEmail author
  • Akhilesh K. Maurya
  • Durgesh Vikram
Review Article


Disorderly traffic streams are those that, simply stated, do not have parallel lines (or lanes) of vehicles but have vehicles distributed more haphazardly in the road space. Vehicles in such streams, while moving longitudinally, change their lateral positions frequently. Their trajectories have a more pronounced wander along the width or the lateral dimension as opposed to those vehicles that primarily move in lanes. This property of disorderly streams dictates that its mathematical models must admit two spatial dimensions (the longitudinal and the lateral). Further, the observed impact of road geometry features like width, curvature, etc., on stream behavior, irrespective of whether the stream is disorderly, also suggests that realistic models of traffic streams must describe the streams using two spatial dimensions. Unfortunately, most of the theories of traffic dynamics are one-dimensional—they only consider the longitudinal dimension. This paper, while describing many of the existing approaches to modelling vehicular traffic behavior builds a case for strengthening two-dimensional modelling approaches that are all, still in their infancy. Given the (1) large increase in computation and data handling capabilities over the last decade and (2) significant strides made in developing tools for observing traffic dynamics at scales and accuracy levels that were previously unimaginable, the authors believe the time has come to develop, calibrate and validate reasonable two-dimensional models of traffic dynamics.



One-dimensional models

These are models of traffic dynamics that represent the behavior over time using only one spatial dimension—the longitudinal dimension (i.e., the dimension along the length of the road)

Two-dimensional models

These are models of traffic dynamics that represent the behavior over time using two spatial dimensions—the longitudinal dimension and the lateral dimension (i.e., the dimension along the width of the road)

Microscopic models

These models describe, over time, individual driver behavior as a response to (1) actions of other vehicles in his/her vicinity, and (2) features of the road (like the geometry of the road, presence of parked vehicles, etc.)

Macroscopic models

These models describe, over time, the behavior of a vehicular stream under different traffic conditions and features of the road

Car-following models

They are one-dimensional microscopic models that describe the actions of the following vehicle (in terms of acceleration/deceleration) only in response to the actions of the vehicle immediately ahead.


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Copyright information

© Indian Institute of Science 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Partha Chakroborty
    • 1
    Email author
  • Akhilesh K. Maurya
    • 2
  • Durgesh Vikram
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringIIT KanpurKanpurIndia
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringIIT GuwahatiGuwahatiIndia
  3. 3.Department of Civil EngineeringBITS PilaniPilaniIndia

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