Date of Award

Fall 12-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computational Modeling & Simulation Engineering


Modeling and Simulation

Committee Director

Yuzhong Shen

Committee Member

Hong Yang

Committee Member

Duc T. Nguyen


Microscopic traffic simulation (MTS) is the emulation of real-world traffic movements in a virtual environment with various traffic entities. Typically, the movements of the vehicles in MTS follow some predefined algorithms, e.g., car-following models, lane changing models, etc. Moreover, existing MTS models only provide a limited capability of two- and/or three-dimensional displays that often restrict the user’s viewpoint to a flat screen. Their downscaled scenes neither provide a realistic representation of the environment nor allow different users to simultaneously experience or interact with the simulation model from different perspectives. These limitations neither allow the traffic engineers to effectively disseminate their ideas to various stakeholders of different backgrounds nor allow the analysts to have realistic data about the vehicle or pedestrian movements. This dissertation intends to alleviate those issues by creating a framework and a prototype for a testing environment where MTS can have inputs from user-controlled vehicles and pedestrians to improve their traffic entity movement algorithms as well as have an immersive M3 (multi-mode, multi-perspective, multi-user) visualization of the simulation using Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies. VR environments are created using highly realistic 3D models and environments. With modern game engines and hardware available on the market, these VR applications can provide a highly realistic and immersive experience for a user. Different experiments performed by real users in this study prove that utilizing VR technology for different traffic related experiments generated much more favorable results than the traditional displays. Moreover, using AR technologies for pedestrian studies is a novel approach that allows a user to walk in the real world and the simulation world at a one-to-one scale. This capability opens a whole new avenue of user experiment possibilities. On top of that, the in-environment communication chat system will allow researchers to perform different Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) studies without ever needing to leave the simulation environment. Last but not least, the distributed nature of the framework enables users to participate from different geographic locations with their choice of display device (desktop, smartphone, VR, or AR). The prototype developed for this dissertation is readily available on a test webpage, and a user can easily download the prototype application without needing to install anything. The user also can run the remote MTS server and then connect their client application to the server.


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