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Unit information: Transport and Mobility Modelling in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Transport and Mobility Modelling
Unit code EMATM0021
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Eddie Wilson
Open unit status Not open

EMAT20200 or equivalent.



School/department Department of Engineering Mathematics
Faculty Faculty of Engineering

Description including Unit Aims

The aim of this unit is to introduce some of the concepts, models and
data that underpin transport planning decisions and the traffic
engineering profession. We will cover flavours of the following

  • 1. Modern sources of travel and traffic data (e.g., inductance loops,
    ANPR, bluetooth / wifi, mobile phone call records, census data etc.)
  • 2. Macroscopic models for travel demand - (e.g., the gravity and
    radiation models). The OD (origin-destination) matrix and the problem
    of its estimation. Travel survey techniques.
  • 3. Traffic assignment problem - that predicts the proportion of
    different users taking different routes and modes as a function of the
    travel demand and the network. The user equilibrium and system optimal
    assignments and elementary examples of their computation.
  • 4. Link cost models - simple examples including macroscopic
    Fundamental diagram models, whole-link models, queueing models etc.
  • 5. Principles of microsimulation. Car-following models and best
    practice in their use.
  • 6. Basics of traffic control (traffic lights etc.) and their

The course will also incorporate one or two seminars by external
speakers who will speak on topical points such as congestion charging
or automated vehicles.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. explain the basic principles that underpin transport planning
  2. give an overview of the various sources of travel and transport data, and the ways that they can be used and misused
  3. perform simple calculations that either forecast travel demand or estimate the OD matrix from observations of link flows etc
  4. formulate route and mode choice as a Nash game, and compute UE and SO traffic assignments for simple network problems by hand
  5. give an overview of the principles and of the simplest examples for modelling road traffic flow on a single link, for incorporation into wider network analyses
  6. explain the use and potential for misuse of microscopic traffic simulation models; and be able to compute simple properties of a car-following model from its analytical formulation
  7. state the basic principles of traffic signal engineering and how traffic controls might be optimised
  8. give an overview of how all this theory may be used in future transport applications.

Teaching Information

20 lectures

4 seminars

Assessment Information

2-hour written examination (all learning outcomes).

Reading and References

There is no one reference that covers all of this material. Parts of
of the following may be gathered together to cover the course.

1. Modelling Transport, by Ortuzar and Willumsen, published by Wiley - very large monograph, only sections of it required.
2. Urban Transportation Networks, by Sheffi - available as a web download from