GeoSparkSim: A Microscopic Road Network Traffic Simulator Based on Apache Spark (research paper)

Published in International Conference on Mobile Data Management, MDM, 2019


Road network traffic data has been widely studied by researchers and practitioners in different areas such as urban planning, traffic prediction and spatial-temporal databases. For instance, researchers use such data to evaluate the impact of road network changes. Unfortunately, collecting large-scale high-quality urban traffic data requires tremendous efforts because participating vehicles must install GPS receivers and administrators must continuously monitor these devices. There has been a number of urban traffic simulators trying to generate such data with different features. However, they suffer from two critical issues (1) scalability: most of them only offer single-machine solution which is not adequate to produce large-scale data. Some simulators can generate traffic in parallel but do not well balance the load among machines in a cluster. (2) granularity: many simulators do not consider microscopic traffic situations including traffic lights, lane changing, car following. In the paper, we propose GeoSparkSim, a scalable traffic simulator which extends Apache Spark to generate large-scale road network traffic datasets with microscopic traffic simulation. The proposed system seamlessly integrates with a Spark-based spatial data management system, GeoSpark, to deliver a holistic approach that allows data scientists to simulate, analyze and visualize large-scale urban traffic data. To implement microscopic traffic models, GeoSparkSim employs a simulation-aware vehicle partitioning method to partition vehicles among different machines such that each machine has a balanced workload. The experimental analysis shows that GeoSparkSim can simulate the movements of 200 thousand vehicles over a very large road network (250 thousand road junctions and 300 thousand road segments).