Citywide Estimation of Traffic Dynamics via Sparse GPS Traces


Traffic congestion is a perpetual challenge in metropolitan areas around the world. The ability to understand traffic dynamics is thus critical to effective traffic control and management. However, estimation of traffic conditions over a large-scale road network has proven to be a challenging task for two reasons: first, traffic conditions are intrinsically stochastic; second, the availability and quality of traffic data vary to a great extent. Traditional traffic monitoring systems that exist mostly on major roads and highways are insufficient to recover the traffic conditions for an entire network. Recent advances in GPS technology and the resulting rich data sets offer new opportunities to improve upon such traditional means, by providing much broader coverage of road networks. Despite that, such data are limited by their spatial-temporal sparsity in practice. To address these issues, we have developed a novel framework to estimate travel times, traversed paths, and missing values over a large-scale road network using sparse GPS traces. Our method consists of two phases. In the first phase, we adopt the shortest travel time criterion based on Wardrop's Principles in the map-matching process. With an improved traveltime allocation technique, we have achieved up to 52.5% relative error reduction in network travel times compared to a state-of-the-art method [1]. In the second phase, we estimate missing values using Compressed Sensing algorithm, thereby reducing the number of required measurements by 94.64%.

Publication Title

IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Magazine