Implementing first-in-first-out in the cell transmission model for networks

Malachy Carey, Hillel Bar-Gera, David Watling, Chandra Balijepalli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


In traffic assignment models with time-varying flows (dynamic network loading or dynamic traffic assignment), overtaking behaviour is normally not included in the model and, in that case, it is important that the model at least approximates first-in-first-out (FIFO), to prevent deviations from FIFO that are arbitrary or unrealistic or not physically possible. For the cell transmission model (CTM) it has recently been shown that the usual recommended method for preserving FIFO will ensure FIFO for each cell taken separately but does not fully ensure FIFO in the transition between cells and hence does not fully ensure FIFO for sequences of cells or for links or for routes. As a result, deviations from FIFO can easily occur and cumulate along the links or routes. In view of that, we define and analyse three different levels of satisfaction or approximation of FIFO, together with corresponding methods for achieving them. Two of these are existing methods and one is new. We develop, analyse and compare the three methods and the extent to which each of them adheres to FIFO for sequences of cells and links or routes. Also, for two of the methods we present a more detailed algorithm for applying them within the CTM. The paper is concerned with how to implement FIFO in the CTM and not with testing for FIFO or measuring deviations from FIFO.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-118
Number of pages14
JournalTransportation Research Part B: Methodological
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Cell transmission model
  • Dynamic network loading
  • Dynamic traffic assignment
  • Exit-flow models
  • FIFO
  • First-in-first-out

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation


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