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ABSTRACT

 

Traffic simulation has become one of the most used approaches for traffic analysis in support of the design and evaluation of traffic systems. Although traffic flow models have been applied for almost a century to describe, simulate and predict traffic, digital computer programs to simulate traffic flow have been developed from the 1950s. With the increasing power of computers, simulations began to incorporate animation techniques. These animation techniques and visualizations allowed viewing the overall performance of a traffic system design while providing an excellent means of communicating the result patterns from a simulation model to officials, decision makers and the general public in a meaningful way.
This work presents the design of an animation/visualization tool for road traffic simulation, which is independent (stand-alone/separate from a traffic simulator) and generic (that is, can visualize output data from any traffic simulator). This tool implements Google Maps as its background, thereby enabling users to view the animation of a simulation output on any target road. The source data for the animation is an XML file which holds vehicle information.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

ABSTRACT …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. iii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ………………………………………………………………………………………….. iv
DEDICATION …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… v
LIST OF FIGURES ………………………………………………………………………………………………… viii
CHAPTER 1 RESEARCH CONTEXT …………………………………………………………………………. 1
1.1 INTRODUCTION …………………………………………………………………………………………. 1
1.1.1 MACROSCOPIC MODELS ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1
1.1.2 MICROSCOPIC MODELS ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 2
1.1.3 MESOSCOPIC MODELS……………………………………………………………………………………………… 2
1.2 VISUALIZATION FOR ROAD TRAFFIC SIMULATORS ………………………………. 2
1.3 OBJECTIVE…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3
1.4 STRUCTURE OF WORK ……………………………………………………………………………… 3
CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ………………………………………………………………………… 4
2.1 INTRODUCTION TO TRAFFIC M&S …………………………………………………………… 4
2.2 GRAPHICAL TRAFFIC SIMULATIONS ………………………………………………………. 7
2.2.1 SUMO ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 11
2.2.2 VISUAL TRAFFIC SIMULATION ……………………………………………………………………………… 15
2.2.3 3-D VISUALIZATION FOR MICROSCOPIC DATA SOURCES …………………………………… 18
2.3 PROJECT PROPOSAL ……………………………………………………………………………….. 21
CHAPTER 3 DESIGN METHODOLOGY………………………………………………………………….. 23
3.1 OVERVIEW……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 23
3.2 DESIGN CONCEPT ……………………………………………………………………………………. 23
3.2.1 SOFTWARE COMPONENTS …………………………………………………………………………………….. 23
CHAPTER 4 IMPLEMENTATION AND TESTING …………………………………………………… 26
4.1 INTRODUCTION ……………………………………………………………………………………….. 26
4.2 CODE TRANSLATION ………………………………………………………………………………. 26
4.2.1 JAVA CODE ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 26
4.2.2 THE HTML FILE ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 27
4.2.3 THE XML FILE …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 30
4.3 SYSTEM PROCESS ……………………………………………………………………………………. 31
4.3.1 ALTERNATIVE APPROACH …………………………………………………………………………………….. 31
4.4 TESTING …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 33
4.4.1 FIRST APPROACH ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 33
4.4.2 ALTERNATIVE APPROACH …………………………………………………………………………………….. 36
CHAPTER 5 GENERAL CONCLUSION …………………………………………………………………… 39
5.1 OBSERVATION ………………………………………………………………………………………… 39
vii
5.2 ASSUMPTIONS AND LIMITATIONS …………………………………………………………. 39
5.3 FUTURE WORK ………………………………………………………………………………………… 40
REFERENCES ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 41

 

CHAPTER ONE

RESEARCH CONTEXT
1.1 INTRODUCTION
Simulations of any system give users and decision makers an opportunity to appraise alternative strategies of the system before implementing them in the field. Digital computer programs to simulate traffic flow have been developed from the 1950s. The increasing power of computer technologies, the advances in software engineering and the advent of intelligent transport systems prompted traffic simulation to be one of the most used approaches for traffic analysis in support of the design and evaluation of traffic systems. The ability of traffic simulation to emulate the time variability of traffic phenomena makes it a unique tool for capturing the intricacy of traffic systems (Barcelo, 2010).
Numerous research activities that have been carried out on traffic systems have concentrated on modelling, simulation and visualization/animation of rural and urban traffic by taking advantage of advances in computer technology, either to assess alternatives in traffic management or to assist traffic system construction in urban development. The physical dissemination of traffic flows can be specifically depicted using traffic flow models. By utilizing different traffic simulation models, one can simulate large scale real-world situations in great detail. Depending on the level of detailing, traffic flow models are classified into macroscopic, mesoscopic and microscopic models. Brief descriptions of these model types are illustrated below.
1.1.1 MACROSCOPIC MODELS
Macroscopic models view the traffic flow in general. That is, these models are usually based on the continuous traffic flow theory whose objective lies in observing/assessing the time-space development of the variables describing the traffic flows. These variables are volume, speed and density, which are assumed to be defined at every instance in time t and every point in space x. Macroscopic models gained interest since the 1960s. Examples of these types of models include FREFLO – FREeway FLOw (Payne, 1979), METANET – Modèle d’Ecoulement du Trafic Autoroutier: Network (Messmer et al., 1990-9).
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1.1.2 MICROSCOPIC MODELS
This type of model gives attention to individual vehicles and their interactions. It models driver/vehicular actions like acceleration/deceleration, lane changes in response to the surrounding traffic. Such models seek to answer questions like the nature of a driver’s response to an event, measuring a drivers’ sensitivity, etc. Microscopic models cover car-following models for single-lane traffic, and incorporate lane-changing models for multi-lane traffic. Examples are FRESIM – FREeway micro-SIMulator, CORSIM – CORridor SIMulation, VISSIM – a German acronym for “Traffic in Towns – Simulation”, TRANSIMS – TRansportation Analysis and SIMulation System (Sharon et al., 2001).
1.1.3 MESOSCOPIC MODELS
This type of model comprises, in some ways, microscopic and macroscopic aspects of traffic flow models. As a result, they are computationally more efficient than microscopic models. But observing the trend, mesoscopic models have not been receiving much research attention lately. Examples are DYNAMEQ – Dynamic EQuilibrum, DYNMIT (Barcelo, 2010), etc.
1.2 VISUALIZATION FOR ROAD TRAFFIC SIMULATORS
The visualization aspect of the research activities in road traffic simulation are receiving substantial interest from both academia and industry due to huge amounts of data stored in traffic and transportation databases or the amount of data generated by simulation models (Shekar et al., 1997). Data is generated from simulation models, especially when it is large, is difficult to easily interpret for planners, policy makers, even the modellers running the simulation. This gave birth to the integration of visualization and its techniques to traffic modelling and simulation, thereby enabling the extraction of useful information from the large mass of data.
Most of the existing visualization tools are either integrated with the traffic simulators or designed for specific traffic simulators. For example, METROPOLIS is a visualization tool designed for TRANSIMS simulation output (https://sourceforge.net/projects/transims-metro) while SUMO (Simulation of Urban MObility – an open-source microscopic, multi-modal traffic simulation) is that it has its visualizer/GUI embedded in its software. A number of road design techniques have been implemented in road traffic visualization tools ranging from graphs and charts to 2D/3D road network designs and maps (Open Street Map, Google
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Earth). Very few visualizers are stand-alone (that is, not a traffic simulator and independent of the simulation model or software used) software that can accept data describing the road network and vehicle trajectories and still render its output in real time. One of such is vtSim.VIEW, a module developed for the vtSim (Validating environment for Traffic Simulation) data and simulation management framework (Wenger et al., 2013).
Based on the search and reviews carried out in the course of this work, it was observed that most road networks of these visualizers were manually designed or constructed with various mathematical calculations performed in order to mimic an almost accurate geometry of the road network being observed. For the few visualization tools that use or incorporate Google Maps, Google Earth or OpenStreetMap as background, the map data is either converted to a simulator-specific road network format using a tool in its package (SUMO) or the map is used as a background photo and the model is overlaid on the photo (VISSIM) (Matthew et al., June 2007).
1.3 OBJECTIVE
This project aims to design an animation/visualization tool for road traffic simulation, that is independent, generic (that is, can visualize output data from any traffic simulator), and has a realistic feel of traffic observation, as we will incorporate Google Maps in its dynamic form; the user only needs to pan to the road being observed on the map. The data source for this visualization will be XML based, as XML files can be efficiently read, exchanged and their format defined in a standardized way using XML schema.
1.4 STRUCTURE OF WORK
We organize our work as follows: Chapter 2 is the literature review on the Visualizers of Traffic Simulation and their implementation techniques, while Chapter 3 presents our design methodology. Chapter 4 addresses the implementation and testing of our application. In Chapter 5 we conclude our work and discuss the limitations encountered and give the direction of future work.

 

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