Traffic flow on freeways is a non-linear, many-particle phenomenon, with complex interactions between vehicles. This paper presents a stochastic model of freeway traffic at a time scale and of a level of detail suitable for on-line estimation, routing and ramp metering control. The freeway is considered as a network of interconnected components, corresponding to one-way road links consisting of consecutively connected short sections (cells). The compositional model proposed here extends the Daganzo cell transmission model by defining sending and receiving functions explicitly as random variables, and by also specifying the dynamics of the average speed in each cell. Simple stochastic equations describing the macroscopic traffic behavior of each cell, as well as its interaction with neighboring cells are obtained. This will allow the simulation of quite large road networks by composing many links. The model is validated over synthetic data with abrupt changes in the number of lanes and over real traffic data sets collected from a Belgian freeway.
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Transportation Research Part B -- Methodological. 40 (4), 2006, © ELSEVIER.