Rails and a train in Wien Meidling station

© Gernot Gmeinhart

Simulating Traffic and Intelligent Traffic Flow Control

In order for traffic systems to be researched and improved, suitable modeling in the form of efficient mathematical models with meaningful parameters is necessary. These models can be used to investigate and optimize the main effects in dynamic traffic events. Depending on the extent and level of detail of this modeling, a distinction is made in particular between macroscopic and microscopic observation.

Macroscopic Modeling

Macroscopic traffic models capture extensive traffic systems and networks on the basis of traffic flows. By means of transport equations, flows are assumed to depend on density and speed, and the temporal development of these quantities, locally distributed over the transport network, is calculated.

Research Topics at our Institute

  • The institute has created the possibility for an efficient and precise simulation of such systems by clever numerical formulations.
  • Based on this, model predictive control of traffic light phases is used for the dynamic optimization of traffic networks.

Microscopic Modeling

In microscopic modeling, the individual vehicles or various road users and their movements are modeled in detail. Thus, complex behaviors can be modeled and optimized with a high degree of detail, for example the interaction behavior when passing an intersection.

Research Topics at our Institute

  • Special, flexible control concepts for the safe and efficient automation of driving tasks have been developed and tested.
  • Safe semi-automated truck platooning, i.e., safe and cooperative driving with aligned, close spacing, is a challenge for driving control and communication strategies. By clever design of the control system and the corresponding procedure models, efficient, safe platooning can be achieved, which additionally reliably prevents complex effects such as phantom congestion.

Intelligent Intersection

Another focus is a heterogeneous intersection scenario in which completely different road users interact. The goal is to manage the traffic situations in a safe, relaxed and efficient way.

We are now investigating how modern 5G communications can help to make these interactions and traffic management safer and more efficient, so that the intersection performs better in a variety of target aspects (safety, efficiency, emissions, acceptance). Flexible multi-agent modeling allows the development and testing of different communication and control strategies, as well as their evaluation. Validation in co-simulations with modern and detailed simulation programs corroborates the statements.


Gratzer, Alexander L., Sebastian Thormann, Alexander Schirrer, and Stefan Jakubek. "String Stable and Collision-Safe Model Predictive Platoon Control, opens an external URL in a new window." IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems (2022).

Thormann, Sebastian, Alexander Schirrer, and Stefan Jakubek. "Safe and efficient cooperative platooning, opens an external URL in a new window." IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems (2020).

Wasserburger, Alexander, Alexander Schirrer, Nico Didcock, and Christoph Hametner. "A probability-based short-term velocity prediction method for energy-efficient cruise control, opens an external URL in a new window." IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology 69, no. 12 (2020): 14424-14435.

Wasserburger, Alexander, Alexander Schirrer, and Christoph Hametner. "Stochastic Optimisation for the Design of Energy-Efficient Controllers for Cooperative Truck Platoons, opens an external URL in a new window." International Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems Research (2022): 1-11.

Thonhofer, Elvira, Toni Palau, Andreas Kuhn, Stefan Jakubek, and Martin Kozek. "Macroscopic traffic model for large scale urban traffic network design, opens an external URL in a new window." Simulation Modelling Practice and Theory 80 (2018): 32-49.

Thonhofer, Elvira, Elisabeth Luchini, and Stefan Jakubek. "A flexible, adaptive traffic network simulation with parameter estimation, opens an external URL in a new window." Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems 21, no. 1 (2017): 63-77.

Thonhofer, Elvira, and Stefan Jakubek. "Investigation of stochastic variation of parameters for a macroscopic traffic model., opens an external URL in a new windowJournal of Intelligent Transportation Systems 22, no. 6 (2018): 547-564.

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Ao.Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Martin Kozek

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