What is Traffic Assignment?
Traffic assignment models are used to estimate the traffic flows on a network. These models take as input a matrix of flows that indicate the volume of traffic between origin and destination (O-D) pairs. They also take input on the network topology, link characteristics, and link performance functions. The flows for each O-D pair are loaded onto the network based on the travel time or impedance of the alternative paths that could carry this traffic.
Traffic assignment is a key element in the urban travel demand forecasting process. The traffic assignment model predicts the network flows that are associated with future planning scenarios, and generates estimates of the link travel times and related attributes that are the basis for benefits estimation and air quality impacts. The traffic assignment model is also used to generate the estimates of network performance that are used in the mode choice and trip distribution or destination choice stages of many models.