European Institute for
Statistics, Probability, Stochastic Operations Research
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September 12, 2011










The stochastics cluster STAR is organizing an Outreach Day on the topic "Road traffic and stochastics", in collaboration with the 3TU Applied Mathematics Institute (3TU-AMI) and the Committee for Innovation of Platform Wiskunde Nederland (PWN).



Ivo Adan Eindhoven University of Technology
Onno Boxma Eindhoven University of Technology/Eurandom
Arnold Heemink Delft University of Technology
Michel Mandjes UvA/CWI Amsterdam/Eurandom
Sindo Núñez-Queija CWI/UvA



Invited speakers

Dr.ir. Marko Boon Eindhoven University of Technology
Dr. Victor Knoop Delft University of Technology
Prof.dr. Stefan Lämmer Technical University Dresden
MSc. Mattieu Nuijten Advin BV
Dr. Henk Taale TrafficQuest and TU Delft
Prof. dr. Erik Verhoef VU Amsterdam
Dr.ir. Carlo van de Weijer TomTom and Eindhoven University of Technology



Monday September 12

10.10 - 10.15 Opening Onno Boxma
10.15 - 10.45 Carlo van de Weijer TomTom’s philosophy for the future traffic management
10.45 - 11.15 Marko Boon Roadblocks revisited
11.15-  11.45 Coffee/tea break  
11.45 - 12.30 Stefan Lämmer Self-control of traffic lights in urban road networks
12.30 - 13.30 Lunch  
13.30 - 14.00 Erik Verhoef Variability of travel times: an economic perspective
14.00 - 14.30 Henk Taale Anticipatory Control: Part of the Future of Traffic Management
14.30 - 15.00 Coffee/tea break  
15.00 - 15.30 Victor Knoop Stochasticity in traffic supply
15.30 - 16.00 Mattieu Nuijten A view on stochastic processes applied in traffic engineering
16.00 - Drinks  





Marko Boon (TU/e)

Roadblocks revisited

One of the most elementary queueing problems in road traffic is the so-called roadblock problem, where a two-way road is partially blocked  and the traffic arriving from both directions has to share one single lane. A major challenge is to find optimal settings for the traffic lights regulating the traffic. Much is known about control policies that make use of a fixed cycle, and about exhaustive control policies (traffic lights turn red as soon as the corresponding queues have vanished). However, the most popular control policy in practice is the time-limited control policy, which uses maximum green times. Although the roadblock problem is very elementary, it is well-known that already for this basic problem an exact queue-length analysis is generally impossible if the time-limited control policy is used. In this talk we will discuss new insights in limited control policies, that have resulted in an exact heavy-traffic analysis and the development of a new, very accurate approximation for the mean waiting times.


Victor Knoop (Delft University of Technology)

Stochasticity in traffic supply

The maximum flow of vehicles over a road per unit of time is called the capacity. Traffic engineering handbooks traditionally consider this a fixed characteristic of the road. However, a closer look reveals that the road capacity is actually determined by drivers. The lower the headway they maintain, the more vehicles can flow over the road. The minimum headway differs per driver, so the capacity depends on the composition of driver types. The traffic dynamics even more depend on drivers characteristics. Whether a braking manoeuvre of one driver results in a traffic jam or not, depends on the following behaviour of the other drivers. Sensitive drivers can react by a more fierceful braking, thus creating a stop-and-go wave. There are external stochastic variables as well, for instance the weather, which influence the
capacity. All in all, this leads to a rather unpredictable traffic supply. This talk will discuss these elements, and also shows what possible effects are if drivers are forced to behave in a similar way, for instance by average speed checks.


Stefan Lämmer (Technical University Dresden)

Self-control of traffic lights in urban road networks

A new traffic light control concept allows for variable adjustments not only of the duration, but also of the order of green phases. The control strategy is based on travel time minimization, utilizing a combination of anticipation, optimization, and stabilization. Since this leads to a purely autonomous, demand-responsive behavior of the traffic lights at each intersection, we refer to this control principle as "self-control".
This new control principle has been generalized such that complicated and combined services of traffic flows, pedestrian flows, and the prioritization of public transport can be considered.
The acyclic operation of the traffic lights is an essential feature of the proposed concept, which compensates for random fluctuations in the traffic flows, and which consequently reduces the mean value as well as the variance of vehicle and pedestrian queues and delay times.
In a simulation of the city center of Dresden, Germany, we could compare the proposed concept with an adaptive state-of-the-art controller (which has been optimized within the same simulation suite and includes green waves). Motivated by the positive results, a field trial is currently being prepared.


Mattieu Nuijten (Advin BV)

A view on stochastic processes applied in traffic engineering

WAIT …………..



Our dream: fast, clean, safe
Trends: Smart Mobility, Automotive Technology cars as computers on wheels, models for Insight in patterns, process control

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) refers to information and communication technologies, applied to transport, traffic and infrastructure. With applied IT Systems we reach out for our dreams (our goals) on transport safety, travel reliability, environmental performance and network operations. Where do stochastic processes come in?
I will present an overview of where mathematics and stochastic processes entered traffic engineering. I’ll invite you to think about the transferability of waiting time, stochastic based network operations between phone, ICT and traffic.


Henk Taale (TrafficQuest and TU Delft)

Anticipatory Control: Part of the Future of Traffic Management

In the Netherlands traffic management is an important approach to minimise the negative effects of increasing congestion. Measures such as ramp metering and route information, but also the traditional traffic signal control is used. The focus in planning traffic management has been on local measures. However, there is a tendency to come to a more centralised way of traffic management. The interaction with the route choice behaviour and other traffic management measures becomes an important aspect of the control strategy design. This is called anticipatory control. Anticipatory control can contribute to a better use of the infrastructure in relation with policy objectives. It is a traffic management method, which takes into account dynamic route choice behaviour of travellers. The presentation will describe the perspective of traffic management and the principles of anticipatory control.


Erik Verhoef (VU Amsterdam)

Variability of travel times: an economic perspective


Carlo  van de Weijer (TomTom)

TomTom’s philosophy for the future traffic management

Traffic congestion is an issue that virtually every driver has to contend with at some point in their life. It affects millions of people all over the world and has serious effects on drivers at personal, business and societal levels. Today there is an estimated one billion cars on our roads around the world and traffic congestion is a problem that virtually every government is grappling with. Traffic officials are facing challenges around affordability constraints, increasing emissions and growing driver need. But the information era will also have its effect on traffic. In stead of a top down controlled mechanism, traffic management is quickly evolving to a self-regulated system of well informed drivers.
In this context, TomTom has developed the new benchmark in traffic information, mainly based on the biggest Floating Car Data fleet world-wide. It helps to reduce the journey times for individual TomTom drivers already by up to 15%. With our traffic solution services we have opened up our real-time traffic information to the public. With this data, governments and businesses can perform their own detailed analyses on road network bottlenecks, origin destination patterns and real-time traffic congestion. In this way road authorities can perform Dynamic Traffic Management in a drastically more efficient as well as effective way.


Practical information

Conference Location
The workshop location is EURANDOM,  Den Dolech 2, 5612 AZ Eindhoven, Laplace Building, 1st floor, LG 1.105.

EURANDOM is located on the campus of Eindhoven University of Technology, in the 'Laplacegebouw' building' (LG on the map). The university is located at 10 minutes walking distance from Eindhoven railway station (take the exit north side and walk towards the tall building on the right with the sign TU/e).

For all information on how to come to Eindhoven, please check http://www.eurandom.tue.nl/contact.htm

For more information please contact Mrs. Patty Koorn,
Workshop officer of  EURANDOM


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Last updated 12-10-11,
by PK