Transport system modelling based on analogies between road networks and electrical circuits

Alexander V. Tolmachev, Evgeny V. Sinitsyn, Dmitrii A. Brusyanin


This article describes a probabilistic mathematical model which can be used to analyse traffic flows in a road network. This model allows us to calculate the probability of distribution of vehicles in a regional road network or an urban street network. In the model, the movement of cars is treated as a Markov process. This makes it possible to formulate an equation determining the probability of finding cars at key points of the road network such as street intersections, parking lots or other places where cars concentrate. For a regional road network, we can use cities as such key points.
This model enables us, for instance, to use the analogues of Kirchhoff First Law (Ohm's Law) for calculation of traffic flows. This calculation is based on the similarity of a real road network and resistance in an electrical circuit. The traffic flow is an analogue of the electric current, the resistance of the section between the control points is the time required to move from one key point to another, and the voltage is the difference in the number of cars at these points. In this case, well-known methods for calculating complex electrical circuits can be used to calculate traffic flows in a real road network. The proposed model was used to calculate the critical load for a road network and compare road networks in various regions of the Ural Federal District.


probabilistic mathematical model, traffic flows, Ohm’s Law, Kirchhoff’s First Law, regional road network, traffic management

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