In the following we present a selection of both commercial and open-source traffic simulators. The traffic simulators that are presented here are well-documented, in the sense that technical details about the simulators and their features are available online through manuals or the like. Commercial simulators include proprietary source-code and in this context exact implementational details might not be available, but usually a good theoretical explanation of the implemented models and features can be found. The open-source simulators on the other hand, make the source-code freely available and as such the source-code can always be consulted for further details about the implemented models and features.

Traffic simulators are used for a variety of transportation planning tasks, which might include the investigation and assessment of different transportation planning scenarios i.e., it can be possible model a certain transportation system and answer questions such as:

  • How is the travel time affected if different or new traffic facilities are introduced? For example:
    • Are roundabouts better than signalized intersections?
    • Do ramp metering at access roads to freeways decrease the chance of congestion?
    • Should a new road or additional lanes be built?
  • Given a certain travel demand, what is the optimal traffic signal setting for a certain intersection?
  • What is the consequences of closing certain roads in the traffic network under investigation? In this case, how should vehicles be re-routed, such that the least amount of congestion occurs?

A Brief Overview

Simulator License Traffic flow model DTA capabilities DTA type
AIMSUM Commercial Hybrid Yes SUE
DYNAMEQ Commercial Microscopic Yes DUE
MATSIM Open-source Microscopic Yes SUE
MITSimLAB Open-source Microscopic Unknown Unknown
MOTUS Open-source Microscopic No None
SUMO Open-source Microscopic Yes SUE
TRANSIMS Open-source Microscopic Unknown Unknown
VISSIM Commercial Microscopic Yes SUE
  • Veins: A collection of open-source software tools for transportation modelling and analysis (uses the simulator SUMO among others).


  • DTA: Dynamic Traffic Assignment
  • DUE: Dynamic User Equilibrium
  • SUE: Stochastic User Equilibrium

Note: This post will be extented over time. Last edited: 09-08-2018.