Dynamic Processes and Equilibrium in Transportation Networks: Towards a Unifying Theory

Cantarella, G. E.; Cascetta, E.
November 1995
Transportation Science;Nov95, Vol. 29 Issue 4, p305
Academic Journal
Traditionally, traffic assignment models, both for within-day static and dynamic demand, have been formulated following an equilibrium approach in which a state ensuring internal consistency between demand (flows) and costs is sought. However, equilibrium analysis is significant under some assumptions on its "representativeness" (coincidence or closeness with the actual attractor of the system) and analytical properties, such as existence, uniqueness, and stability. Moreover, transients due to modifications of demand and/or supply cannot be simulated through equilibrium models, nor can a statistical description of the state of the system, i.e. means, modes, moments and, more generally, frequency distributions of flows over time be obtained. In this paper, interperiodic (day-to-day) dynamic modeling of transportation networks is addressed following two different approaches, namely deterministic and stochastic processes. In both cases several theoretical results are shown by making use of a formal framework covering most models discussed in the literature as well as some possible extensions. Most of the results reported can be extended to cover within-day dynamic models but these models are not explicitly dealt with. Within the framework of deterministic processes the relevance of day-to-day dynamic models for demand/supply interaction in comparison with the traditional user equilibrium approach is discussed, and conditions for coincidence of fixed-point attractors and equilibrium states are stated. Conditions for existence and uniqueness of fixed-point attractors are proposed, generalizing and extending those presented in the literature for user equilibrium. Conditions for stability of both fixed-points and equilibrium states were formulated by making use of results from non-linear dynamic system theory. Moreover, it is possible to devise a new family of "dynamic" algorithms which simulate the system convergence to a fixed-point in order to obtain an equivalent equilibrium state, as opposed to conventional "optimisation" algorithms. In this case the fixed-point stability analysis can be viewed as a convergence analysis for the algorithms specified this way. Conditions for stochastic process regularity are proposed ensuring, among other things, existence and uniqueness of a stationary probability distribution of system states. These conditions generalize and extend results presented in the literature to a wider class of possible dynamic models. Relationships between a deterministic process, together with corresponding fixed-points or equilibrium states, and stochastic probability distribution are also briefly addressed. Finally, some numerical examples confirming theoretical results are reported for a small test network.


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