Traffic Flow Prediction for Road Transportation Networks With Limited Traffic Data
Ioannou, Petros A.
SourceIEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Magazine
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Obtaining accurate information about current and near-term future traffic flows of all links in a traffic network has a wide range of applications, including traffic forecasting, vehicle navigation devices, vehicle routing, and congestion management. A major problem in getting traffic flow information in real time is that the vast majority of links is not equipped with traffic sensors. Another problem is that factors affecting traffic flows, such as accidents, public events, and road closures, are often unforeseen, suggesting that traffic flow forecasting is a challenging task. In this paper, we first use a dynamic traffic simulator to generate flows in all links using available traffic information, estimated demand, and historical traffic data available from links equipped with sensors. We implement an optimization methodology to adjust the origin-to-destination matrices driving the simulator. We then use the real-time and estimated traffic data to predict the traffic flows on each link up to 30 min ahead. The prediction algorithm is based on an autoregressive model that adapts itself to unpredictable events. As a case study, we predict the flows of a traffic network in San Francisco, CA, USA, using a macroscopic traffic flow simulator. We use Monte Carlo simulations to evaluate our methodology. Our simulations demonstrate the accuracy of the proposed approach. The traffic flow prediction errors vary from an average of 2% for 5-min prediction windows to 12% for 30-min windows even in the presence of unpredictable events.