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Macroscopic traffic flow modelling and ramp metering control using Matlab/Simulink

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date1/10/2004
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
Number of pages14
Original languageEnglish


Computer programs to simulate traffic flow offer an opportunity to evaluate new strategies for reducing delays, congestion, fuel consumption and pollution. This paper describes a Statistical Traffic Model or STM, which is based on accepted macro-modelling concepts, such as the conservation of vehicles and the fundamental traffic diagram. In this case, the model is constructed using the well known Matlab/Simulink™ software package, so providing an integrated approach for data processing, graphical presentation of data, control system design and macroscopic simulation in one straightforward to use, widely available environment. To illustrate the methodology, the STM is applied to a section of the M3/M27 Ramp Metering Pilot Scheme in the UK. This Highways Agency sponsored project, based in the Southampton area, utilises traffic lights at the on-ramp entrances to regulate access to the main carriageway of the motorway, in an attempt to maintain flow close to the capacity. The paper utilises the model to help design a locally-coordinated ramp metering algorithm, based on proportional-integral-plus (PIP) control methods. In this manner, the STM proves particularly valuable for the application of multi-objective optimisation techniques in the design of new traffic management systems.