Traffic Simulation Software: Optimizing Traffic Flow and Analyzing Road Traffic Challenges

Traffic Simulation Software

Traffic simulation allows planners to test a wide variety of measures in a virtual environment. It also helps them to better understand how traffic flows in a network can best be optimized.

PTV Vissim models multimodal traffic with a high level of detail down to individual vehicles. It can even simulate public transportation lines with different timetables and stops.

PTV Vissim

PTV Vissim digitally reproduces multimodal traffic patterns and enables traffic engineers to identify, evaluate and address road traffic challenges. It is used worldwide and trusted by transport authorities.

Its flexible architecture supports both macro- and microscopic analysis, making it the ideal choice for a wide range of applications. The software can be configured for a specific task using tooltips in the graphical user interface or via the scripting API (for advanced users).

With VisSim, planners can create and save multiple planning alternatives in a single project. This makes it easier to compare and select the best solution.

With VisSim 8, planners can now model the driving behavior of autonomous and connected vehicles. The software simulates their specific motion sequences and interactions with surrounding traffic, enabling engineers to test ADAS functions and verify planned measures in realistic traffic situations. The software also supports virtual test drives via interfaces to vehicle simulation programs, such as IPG CarMaker and Virtual Test Drive, dSpace ASM, and Simcenter PreScan.


MATISSE is an agent-based traffic simulation software developed by the University of Texas at Dallas. It can be used to model a variety of situations ranging from localized network changes to city-wide congestion pricing policies. It can also be used for evaluating urban mobility and road safety policies. It is available for non-commercial use under the GPLv3 license.

The POLARIS framework provides a set of custom components that allow researchers to develop and test their own models. These models can be added to the system and integrated into a user application. Layer 2 of the POLARIS architecture contains reference implementations for established car-following models and other routing algorithms.

DYNAMEQ is vehicle-based traffic simulation and dynamic traffic assignment (DTA) software that realistically simulates traffic for operational planning studies of virtually any size. It helps improve planning decisions by testing a range of scenarios in a virtual environment to evaluate the impact of changes to travel demand, network configurations and traffic control and pricing policies.


SyncHRO 4D software is designed to improve construction project efficiency. It combines deterministic modeling tools with microscopic simulation to help you analyze traffic operations and evaluate signalized intersections. It also supports multi-run simulations. This powerful software is used by traffic engineers and planners to develop plans and optimize intersection signal timing.

A synchro is an electrical device that transmits data using an analog output voltage based on a signal corresponding to the rotational position of a shaft. The rotor and stator of the synchro are connected by a transmitter and control transformer. When the rotor rotates, the transmitter generates a current in the corresponding stator windings S2. The current flows from the transmitter to the receiver through air gap flux and produces an output voltage.

Synchro enables users to update Resources Statuses from the field using an iPad. This allows multiple participants to track progress and conditions on a project in real-time from their iPads, directly back into the Master Schedule Model. The latest release of Synchro includes the following enhancements and functionality:


Unlike other traffic simulation software, SimTraffic models individual cars, trucks and buses traveling through a network of freeways, streets and multiple types of intersections. It calculates delays, vehicular queues and travel times for these modeled users over a specified simulation period. It also produces 2-D and 3-D animations of the transportation model that are effective tools for conveying traffic operations in public presentations.

Microsimulation models usually provide two types of results: animated displays and numerical output in text files. Animated displays offer a quick qualitative assessment of performance. However, they are limited in their ability to identify the root cause of problems such as persistent queues.

The microsimulation software packages discussed in this article are designed for traffic engineering analysis tasks, including evaluating congestion mitigation alternatives and eliminating recurring bottlenecks. They also provide a means for understanding the impact of various roadway and traffic engineering solutions, such as adapted signal timing control or changing vehicle type.

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