Frequently Asked Questions

What is micro-simulation?

Micro-simulation is a category of computer-based analytical tool which, in reference to the transport planning industry, refer to highly detailed modelling of all modes of transport, including cyclists and pedestrians, over the area of any given project. This is achieved through the use of complex mathematical behaviour models, such as the car following model, made up of following, lane changing and lateral behaviour models for vehicles and the social force model for pedestrians (cyclists can be modelled using either, depending on the scenario being tested).

What data inputs are required?

Micro-simulation traffic models depend upon large amounts of high quality data to build and operate them successfully, including:

  • Traffic surveys, including manual classified counts, automatic traffic counts, journey times on key routes, queue lengths and automatic number plate recognition;
  • Pedestrian crossing volumes/ frequencies;
  • Signal controller data, model specification, signal timings and stages;
  • Scheme drawings and background OS mapping in a CAD format.

What type of scenario can be tested?

Bespoke micro-simulation models are able to be created of almost any scenario requiring the analysis of the effects of interactions between any mode of transport, including road, rail, air and water.  All sizes and types of transport model can be built, pedestrian modelling can be carried out inside and outside of any type of scenario, event planning, emergency preparation etc.

Detailed modelling can be carried out for specialist sectors - for example, car parks, ports, airports, stadiums and public transport interchanges.

What data outputs can be provided?

Micro-simulation traffic models are capable of producing a large range of data outputs - specific requirements should always be discussed at the scoping stage, but a typical list for performance comparisons might include:

  • Average per user/ per vehicle journey times;

  • Average per user/ per vehicle and/ or junction delay;

  • Individual queue lengths;

  • Network-wide performance such as delay/ overall travel time/ delay/ latent demand.