A Finite Difference
Formulation for a Traffic Flow Model
Keng Cheng Ang kcang@nie.edu.sg
Mathematics and Mathematics Education Nanyang Technological University Singapore
Abstract
A simple continuum model for traffic flow, based on the law of mass
conservation, is discussed. A finite difference formulation for the
model is obtained and real traffic data are used for further numerical
investigations. The numerical scheme is implemented and solved using
the spreadsheet features and Visual Basic capabilities (VBA) of
Microsoft Excel. Results from the numerical tests show that predictions
about traffic behaviour and conditions agree well with collected data
provided initial and boundary conditions are carefully treated. The
modelling exercise discussed in this paper provides an excellent
example of applying relevant mathematics to a relatively complex real
life problem. In addition, by using a simple computer tool (namely, a
spreadsheet) in the numerical solution of the model, this paper has
demonstrated the value of technology in making mathematical
investigations more accessible.
