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Unit information: Transport and Mobility Modelling in 2018/19

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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 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Eddie Wilson
Open unit status Not open

EMAT20200 or equivalent.



School/department Department of Engineering Mathematics
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


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

By the end of this module, you will:

• 1) be able to explain the basic principles that underpin transport planning.
• 2) be able to give overview of the various sources of travel and transport data, and the ways that they can be used and misused.
• 3) be able to perform simple calculations that either forecast travel demand
or estimate the OD matrix from observations of link flows etc.
• 4) be able to formulate route and mode choice as a Nash game, and compute UE and SO traffic assignments for simple network problems by hand.
• 5) be able to 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) be able to 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) be able to state the basic principles of traffic signal engineering and how traffic controls might be optimised.
• 8) be able to give an overview of how all this theory may be used in future transport applications.

Teaching details

20 lectures

4 seminars

Assessment Details

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