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Unit information: Transport and Mobility Modelling in 2020/21

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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 topics:

  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 optimisation.

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

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including lectures, supported by live online sessions, problem sheets and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Information

1 Summative Assessment, 100% - Coursework. This will assess all ILOs.

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.

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