Traffic Engineering

Module aims

Students taking this module will aim to understand the following:  

  • Traffic flow variables, their measurement and queuing theory.  

  • Presentations on survey methods and data analysis techniques required by traffic engineers.  

  • The theory and models behind traffic simulation, including an introduction to the VISSIM microscopic traffic simulator.  

  • Principles of off-line and on-line traffic signal control, including an introduction to the SCOOT traffic signal control system and its implementation in London.  

  • The theory behind motorway monitoring and control.  

  • The management of different road user groups, including pedestrians of different abilities, buses, trams and cycles. Additionally, a critical examination of the arguments behind traffic segregation and integration.  

  • Traffic engineering schemes. 

  • Role of technology in the operation of traffic engineering schemes. 

  • Quantitative methods: teaching and practice.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this session participants will be better able to: 

1. Understand the principles of traffic engineering 

2. Utilise the basic quantitative methods required by traffic engineers 

3. Understand how different road user groups interact and the consequences for traffic engineering. 

4. Understand the role technology plays in design and operation of traffic engineering solutions.

Module syllabus

Topics Include: 

  •  Traffic data collection and analysis (information needs, counts and measurements, behavioural surveys, statistical data analysis). 
  • Traffic variables and traffic flow theory (time-mean and space-mean speed, traffic flow and density, headways and spacing, fundamental diagram, waves and shockwaves). 
  • Gap acceptance and traffic queuing. 
  • Advanced traffic flow theory and traffic network modelling (capacity drop, hysteresis, cell transmission model, macroscopic simulation). 
  • Traffic signal control 1 (elements of signal control, saturation flow, fixed-time signal setting). 
  • Traffic signal control 2 (online signal control, SCOOT case study). 
  • Special traffic management measures (bus priority, motorway management). 
  • Traffic and public realm (urban street design, Manual for Streets, shared space). 
  • Intelligent Transport Systems (general context, technologies and application categories, applications). 
  • VISSIM demo and microsimulation modelling.

Reading list