Skip to content


Subversion checkout URL

You can clone with
Download ZIP
An implementation of Nagel-Schreckenberg vehicular traffic automaton
Latest commit 0b12194 @jstitch initial commit
Failed to load latest commit information.
README initial commit initial commit
nasch_test.jpg initial commit


An implementation of Nagel-Schreckenberg vehicular traffic automaton. uses Cage software by Erik Max Francis (which you can
download at

The basic requirements to run are:

-cage (latest version, at time of realease it is 1.1.4)

-PIL , python image library, which maybe you can install via the
python setuptools

-I have tested cage (and with Python 2.5, 2.6 & 2.7 . It
 should run nice with Python 3, buth I'm not certain

Installation & Running:

-Copy file in the same directory as cage software (as a
 matter of fact, you only need the file, the other files are
 nice CA players that come bundled with cage)

-Run with python

--- and Cage

Cage is a software for simulating cellular automata (CA). It consists
of a main engine ( and several players, which according to
certain rules, may be used to render the evolution of certain CA. consists of just some new rules used along with a
NaschImagePlayer (extended from cage's ImagePlayer).

More info, at the code... ;)

Nagel-Schreckenberg vehicular traffic model:

The Nagel-Schreckenberg (NaSch) model is a theoretical model for the
simulation of freeway traffic. It was developed in the early 90s by
the German physicists Kai Nagel and Michael Schreckenberg. Using
algorithms it delivers predictions for roadway traffic, in particular
concerning traffic density and traffic flow. The model was the first
to explain how traffic congestions can emerge without external
influence as a result of imperfect driving behavior. It is related to
the fields of chaos theory and game theory.

In the NaSch model, a road is represented by a single line or array of
values, each of which represent an empty or an occupied cell. Each
cell corresponds to the regular length of a vehicle. A cell with a
vehicle is represented by a natural number, from 0 to max_speed (which
in is 5, which again roughly corresponds to a maximum speed
of something above 100 km/h or 62 mi/h - assuming that a cell
correspond to something around 7 meters, which Nagel & Schreckenberg
found as the mean longitude of a vehicle plus the space to the next
one in a road).

Each speed value corresponds too to the distance a vehicle will travel
at each iteration. So a speed of 3 means the vehicle will be 3 cells
in front of its current position at the next iteration.

At each iteration of the CA, 4 rules are applied to each cell, to
calculate if a vehicle will occupy it or not, and at which speed:

1) Acceleration: if vehicle hasn't reached max speed, accelerate by 1

2) Slowing down: in case the accelerated new speed would make the
vehicle collide with the vehicle inmediatly in front of it, slow down
the vehicle to the maximum speed between its new accelerated speed and
the distance to the next vehicle, also, negative speeds aren't allowed

3) Randomnization: to simulate drivers' distractions, slow down by 1
the new accelerated-maybe-slowed-down speed of each vehicle with a
probability of p (which in has been initialized to 30%, ie
only 30% of the vehicles will be slowed down by this rule). Remember
that no negative speeds are allowed

4) Motion: when all vehicles have their new speeds calculated, move
them in the road at the calculated speed

Of course, more things must be taken into account, such as the
topology of the road (is it circular or open at the edges? if open,
should new vehicles be injected at the front edge, and at what rate?
if open, is it an 'infinite' topology? etc...) In, a
circular road has been considered.

At last, when a certain number of iterations has been run (in
it is 500), you can inspect the 'image' of the different speeds of
vehicles accross time. This is the final result will
give. You will notice the presence of traffic waves, which are common
in vehicular traffic, and which give the common sensation of boredom
and desparation in any city ;-) (depending, of course, on the length
of the traffic waves)

For more information on Cellular Automata:

Nagel & Schreckenberg model:

Traffic waves:

At you may
find a list of some variants to the NaSch model

COPYING: is licensed under the GPLv3 license


You may contact the author of at
Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.