Specifications of fundamental diagrams for dynamic traffic modeling

Andy H.F. Chow*, Ying Li, Konstantinos Gkiotsalitis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


This paper studies different specifications of fundamental diagrams for first-order dynamic traffic modeling. The fundamental diagram, which refers to the relationship between traffic flow and density at a given location, plays an important role in modeling the dynamics of traffic propagation. Many forms of fundamental diagrams have been proposed since the seminal work of Greenshields 80 years ago. Nevertheless, empirical validation of fundamental diagrams, in particular, for dynamic modeling purposes, is limited. The study is conducted with an extensive dataset collected from the U.K. M25 motorway. This paper highlights the difficulty in modeling congested traffic with single-valued fundamental diagrams and fine-grained loop detector data. Consequently, this paper first analyzes and discusses the effect of data granularity on model calibration and application. Following this, a set-valued fundamental diagram modeling approach with fine-grained data is also presented. This paper contributes to the development and validation of dynamic traffic simulation tools.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04015015
JournalJournal of transportation engineering
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Data granularity
  • Motorway Incident Detection and Automatic Signalling (MIDAS)
  • Quantile regression
  • Robust control
  • Set-valued fundamental diagrams


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