A Multiscale Simulation Platform for Connected and Automated Transportation Systems


Traffic simulation is an important tool that can assist researchers, analysts, and policymakers to test vehicle/traffic control algorithms, gain insights of micro/macro traffic dynamics, and design traffic management strategies. However, different implementations require different simulation scales and there is no multiscale simulation platform that satisfies all requirements. In this research, we propose to establish a multiscale vehicle-traffic-demand (VTD) simulation platform for connected and automated transportation systems (CATS). This is in particular for the control and management of CATS with varying penetration of connected and automated vehicles (CAVs). The research group has built a microscopic vehicle-in-the-loop (VIL) simulation platform, which uses Unity 3D to simulate/visualize vehicle operations/dynamics and Simulation of Urban Mobility (SUMO) to simulate traffic flow dynamics. Figure 1 shows an overview of the VIL simulation model.

The development of the multiscale VTD will leverage this existing platform, which will be extended to integrate Multiagent Transport Simulation (MATSim) to simulate large-scale traffic, human activities and travel demand generation processes. In addition to the development of the multiscale VTD simulation platform, we will also propose several research tasks to utilize the platform to better understand traffic flow dynamics. This will include using data-driven and AI methods to test whether the Macroscopic Fundamental Diagram (MFD) exists for homogeneous regions of the simulated network, and how to understand and better approximate complex traffic dynamics such as dynamic path travel times and/or the queuing process of a given transportation corridor.

The proposed research will be built upon the previous research results the team and other C2Smart partners have produced in the last several years. In particular, Dr. Joseph Chow from NYU has been leading the development of simulation testbeds for CAVs and has rich experience in developing transportation models using MATSim. Our team and Dr. Chow’s team have agreed to collaborate on this proposed investigation to integrate MAMsim with Unity and SUMO, as well as to add freight-specific models into the multiscale VTD platform.

Research Objectives

The proposed research contains four major research tasks:

Task 1. Design of the multiscale simulation platform VTD

Task 2. Development of the multiscale simulation platform VTD

Task 3. Investigation of traffic dynamics using VTD

Task 4. Final report

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Xuegang (Jeff) Ban

Associate Director, Technology and Data Management, C2SMART

Xuegang Ban is the Principal Investigator on this project.

Yinhai Wang

Affiliated Researcher, UW

Yinhai Wang is a Co-Principal Investigator on this project.

Don MacKenzie

Assistant Professor, UW

Don MacKenzie is a Co-Principal Investigator on this project.

Qiangqiang Guo

Researcher, UW

Qiangqiang Guo is a Researcher on this project.

Yiran Zhang

Researcher, UW

Yiran Zhang is a Researcher on this project.

Ohay Angah

Researcher, UW

Ohay Angah is a Researcher on this project.