Microsimulating Heterogeneous Traffic: An Implementation of the Porous Flow Approach

  • Jason Hawkins
  • Lina Kattan
Original Article


Modelling of traffic flow lacking lane-adherence, with variable vehicle sizes and speeds, is a pressing issue in the simulation field. Commercially available software is not designed for modelling such traffic, which is characteristic of developing countries. A recently developed method is to model traffic as grains of sand moving through a porous medium. This approach is explored and expanded in this work to consider multiple vehicle classes and potential uses in microsimulation. A microsimulation model is developed using an object-oriented approach and compared with existing work in the field. The developed approach, found to fit with the porous flow approach, is shown to properly reflect the traffic flow impacts associated with introducing additional vehicle classes. Fundamental flow diagrams are presented for heterogeneous traffic, which fit a Daganzo approximation. It is determined that several changes are required to the theoretical framework to accurately represent traffic characteristics before viable commercial application.


Heterogeneous traffic microsimulation Traffic modelling Traffic simulation in developing markets Continuum flow approach 



This research was funded by a Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship. This manuscript has benefitted from the comments made by four anonymous referees on an earlier draft.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Civil EngineeringUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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