simpla is written for SUMO versions > 0.30.0. We strongly recommend regularly updating to the newest SUMO version if possible. Nightly snapshots can be found here.

As simpla uses TraCI's StepListener interface, it cannot be combined with controlling several sumo instances from the same client.


simpla is a configurable, platooning plugin for the TraCI Python client. It manages the spontaneous formation of vehicle platoons and allows you to define specific behavior for vehicles that travel inside a platoon.

This is achieved by defining additional vehicle types which represent platooning modes, and by providing information, which type (mode) to use for normal, solitary travel, and which one to use when platooning is activated. Further, 'catch-up' modes may be specified, which are used when a potential platooning partner is farther ahead downstream.

For platooning up to four operational modes may be specified apart from the normal traveling mode (see section Configuration for the details):

  • Platoon leader mode (parametrization of a vehicle driving at the front of a platoon)
  • Platoon follower mode (parametrization of a vehicle driving behind another vehicle within a platoon)
  • Platoon catch-up mode (parametrization of a vehicle in range of a platoon, which is feasible for joining)
  • Platoon catch-up follower mode (parametrization of a vehicle traveling in a platoon, with a platoon leader in catchup mode)


The corresponding vTypes have to be known by SUMO at startup. This means, they should be placed at the beginning of the demand definitions. When using duarouter for route generation, please use the option --vtype-output to generate a seperate file containing the vTypes, which can be loaded upfront.

It suffices to specify the platoon leader mode to use simpla. The behavior in situations corresponding to the follower mode will use the leader mode if the follower mode is not specified. The situations corresponding to the catch-up mode will use the solitary mode if no separate catch-up mode is specified. The situations corresponding to the catch-up follower mode will use the follower mode if no separate catch-up follower mode is specified.


Simpla currently does not support lane-changing to join a platoon. Vehicles that are already in a platoon will try to change their lane if the platoon leader changes it's lane though.


The configuration of simpla is done by providing an xml-file containing obligatory and optional parameters for the application. It has a root element configuration with children tagged by the parameter name and holding attributes corresponding to the different parameter values. All possible attributes are listed in the attribute table below. A very simple configuration file could look like this (a more complete example, which serves as a template can be found in the installation directory <SUMO_HOME>/tools/simpla):

    <vehicleSelector value="pkw" />
    <vTypeMap original="simple_pkw" leader="simple_pkw_as_platoon_leader"  follower="simple_pkw_as_platoon_follower"/>

The following table summarizes all admissible configuration parameters:

Parameter Name Value Type Description
vehicleSelectors string A vehicle is controlled by simpla if its vehicle type id has a given vehicle selector string as a substring. The given value may be a comma-separated list of selectors. Defaults to an empty string, which selects all vehicles for control.
controlRate float The number of the updates (per seconds) for the platoon management logic. Defaults to 1.0 sec.
Note: The rate cannot be increased beyond 1/timestep.
maxPlatoonGap float Gap (in m.) below which vehicles are considered as a platoon (if their vType parameters allow safe traveling for the actual situation). Defaults to 15 m.
platoonSplitTime float Time (in secs.) until a vehicle which maintains a distance larger than maxPlatoonGap from its leader within the platoon (or travels on a different lane or behind a vehicle not belonging to its platoon) is split off. Defaults to 3.0 secs.
catchupDist float If a catch-up mode was defined, vehicles switch their type to the corresponding catch-up vehicle type as soon as a platoon is ahead closer than the given value (in m.). Defaults to 50.0 m.
switchImpatienceFactor float The switch impatience factor determines the magnitude of the effect that an increasing waiting time for a mode switch (due to safety constraints) has on the active speed factor of a vehicle. The active speed factor is calculated as activeSpeedFactor = modeSpecificSpeedFactor/(1+impatienceFactor*waitingTime). The default value for the switch impatience factor is 0.1. Providing values <= 0 will deactivate the impatience mechanism.
lcMode integers (binary code) Specifies the lane-change modes to be used during the corresponding operation modes (e.g. <lcMode leader=597 follower=514 .../>). The modes leader and original default to 594 and follower and catch-up modes default to 514.
speedFactor floats for attributes: original, leader, follower, catchup, catchupFollower Specifies the speed factors to be used during the corresponding operation modes (e.g. <speedFactor follower="1.1" catchup="1.2" .../>). All modes default to 1.0.
vTypeMap strings for attributes: original, leader, follower, catchup, catchupFollower Specifies the vehicle types to be used during the corresponding operation modes (e.g. <vTypeMap original="type1" leader="leader_type1" .../>) If catchup is not defined, the original type will be used, if catchupFollower is not defined follower will be used.
vTypeMapFile string Specifies the name of a file containing the specification of vehicle type mappings. The referenced file should contain lines of the form origTypeID:leaderTypeID:followerTypeID:catchupTypeID:catchupFollowerTypeID. The given vehicle type IDs can be empty strings leading to the default behavior as described above.
Note: Mappings specified in such a file override mappings given as xml-elements of type vTypeMap.
verbosity int Specifies the level of output during the simulation.

Integrating simpla into your traci script#

First of all you should ensure that the directory <SUMO_HOME>/tools is in your PYTHONPATH (See here for further explanations). To use simpla with your python script further requires the provision of a configuration file as described above. Assuming such a file named simpla.cfg is located in your working directory, all you have to do is importing simpla as a python module:

import simpla

and, after establishing a TraCI-connection to SUMO, load your configuration.


The call to simpla.load automatically installs a TraCI-stepListener and the platoon management is executed at the end of each call to traci.simulationStep().


(1) simpla changes the vehicle types, speedfactors, and lane changemodes of all connected vehicles. If your application does so as well, this might have unintended consequences.

(2) Currently, steps of lengths other than DeltaT are not supported (i.e. if traci.simulationStep() is called with argument when simpla is running this may yield undesired behavior).

(3) simpla adds subscriptions to VAR_SPEED, VAR_ROAD_ID, VAR_LANE_ID, and VAR_LANE_INDEX and removes them when stopped (per simpla.stop()).

(4) If you start several simulation runs from the same python script, be sure to call traci.close() or simpla.stop() in between to reset simpla's state.

Utility Functions#

It is planned to add utility functions for vehicle control in simpla. They can be referenced by simpla.<function_name> Currently, only one is implemented.


The function has the following syntax:

openGap(vehID, desiredGap, desiredSpeedDiff, maximumDecel, duration)

The arguments are:

Parameter Name Value Type Description
vehID string The ID of the vehicle to be controlled.
desiredGap float>0 The gap that shall be established.
desiredSpeedDiff float>0 The rate at which the gap is open if possible.
maximumDecel float>0 The maximal deceleration at which the desiredSpeedDiff is tried to be approximated.
duration float>0 The period for which the gap control should be active.

The methods adds a controller for the opening of a gap in front of the given vehicle, which stays active for a period of the given duration. If a leader is closer than the desiredGap, the controller tries to establish the desiredGap by inducing the given speedDifference, while not braking harder than maximumDecel. Internally, an object of the class GapCreator is created to manage the vehicle state and is added to traci as a stepListener.