Estimation of Travel Time using Temporal and Spatial Relationships in Sparse Data
Travel time is a basic measure upon which e.g. traveller information systems, traffic management systems, public transportation planning and other intelligent transport systems are developed. Collecting travel time information in a large and dynamic road network is essential to managing the transportation systems strategically and efficiently. This is a challenging and expensive task that requires costly travel time measurements. Estimation techniques are employed to utilise data collected for the major roads and traffic network structure to approximate travel times for minor links. Although many methodologies have been proposed, they have not yet adequately solved many challenges associated with travel time, in particular, travel time estimation for all links in a large and dynamic urban traffic network. Typically focus is placed on major roads such as motorways and main city arteries but there is an increasing need to know accurate travel times for minor urban roads. Such information is crucial for tackling air quality problems, accommodate a growing number of cars and provide accurate information for routing, e.g. self-driving vehicles. This study aims to address the aforementioned challenges by introducing a methodology able to estimate travel times in near-real-time by using historical sparse travel time data. To this end, an investigation of temporal and spatial dependencies between travel time of traffic links in the datasets is carefully conducted. Two novel methodologies are proposed, Neighbouring Link Inference method (NLIM) and Similar Model Searching method (SMS). The NLIM learns the temporal and spatial relationship between the travel time of adjacent links and uses the relation to estimate travel time of the targeted link. For this purpose, several machine learning techniques including support vector machine regression, neural network and multi-linear regression are employed. Meanwhile, SMS looks for similar NLIM models from which to utilise data in order to improve the performance of a selected NLIM model. NLIM and SMS incorporates an additional novel application for travel time outlier detection and removal. By adapting a multivariate Gaussian mixture model, an improvement in travel time estimation is achieved. Both introduced methods are evaluated on four distinct datasets and compared against benchmark techniques adopted from literature. They efficiently perform the task of travel time estimation in near-real-time of a target link using models learnt from adjacent traffic links. The training data from similar NLIM models provide more information for NLIM to learn the temporal and spatial relationship between the travel time of links to support the high variability of urban travel time and high data sparsity.
- PhD