Capability of Current Car-Following Models to Reproduce Vehicle Free-Flow Acceleration Dynamics

Biagio Ciuffo, Michail Makridis, Tomer Toledo, Georgios Fontaras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Microscopic traffic simulation models are widely used to assess the impact of measures and technologies on the road transportation system. The assessment usually involves several measures of performance, such as overall traffic conditions, travel time, energy demand/fuel consumption, emissions, and safety. In doing so, it is usually assumed that traffic models are able to capture not only traffic dynamics but also vehicle dynamics (especially to compute energy/fuel consumption, emissions, and safety). However, this is not necessarily the case with the possibility of achieving unreliable outcomes when extrapolating from traffic to measures of performance related to the vehicle dynamics. The objective of the present paper is to assess the capability of existing car-following models to reproduce observed vehicle acceleration dynamics. A set of experiments was carried out in the Vehicle Emissions Laboratories of the European Commission Joint Research Centre in order to generate relevant data sets. These experiments are used to test the performance of three well-known car-following models. Although all models have been largely tested against their capability to correctly reproduce traffic dynamics, the findings raise concerns about their capability (and thus of the traffic models using them) to predict the effect on the microscopic vehicle dynamics and thus on emissions and energy/fuel consumption. The results of the present work can be considered valid beyond the analyzed car-following models, as simple acceleration rules are usually assumed in the vast majority of the traffic simulation frameworks. Consequently, it can be concluded that there is a number.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8489919
Pages (from-to)3594-3603
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Car-following models
  • traffic simulation
  • vehicle acceleration
  • vehicle dynamics

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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