Performing Short-Term Travel Time Prediction on Arterials
Salek Moghaddam, Soroush
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As urban centers become larger and more densely developed, their roadway networks tend to experience more severe congestion for longer periods of the day and increasingly unreliable travel times. Proactive traffic management (PTM) strategies such as proactive traffic signal control systems and advanced traveler information systems provide the potential to cost effectively improve road network operations. However, these proactive management strategies require an ability to accurately predict near-future traffic conditions. Traffic conditions can be described using a variety of measures of performance and travel time is one of the most valued by both travelers and transportation system managers. Consequently, there exists a large body of literature dedicated to methods for performing travel time prediction. The majority of the existing body of research on travel time prediction has focused on freeway travel time prediction using fixed point sensor data. Predicting travel times on signalized arterials is more challenging than on freeways mainly as a result of the higher variation of travel times in these environments. For both freeways and arterial environments, making predictions in real-time is more challenging than performing off-line predictions, mainly because of data availability issues that arise for real-time applications. Recently, Bluetooth detectors have been utilized for collecting both spatial (i.e. travel time) and fixed point (e.g. number of detections) data. Bluetooth detectors have surpassed most of the conventional travel time measuring techniques in three main capacities: (i) direct measurement of travel time, (ii) continuous collection of travel times provides large samples, and (iii) anonymous detection. Beside these advantages, there are also caveats when using these detectors: (i) the Bluetooth obtained data include different sources of outliers and measurement errors that should be filtered out before the data are used in any travel time analysis and (ii) there is an inherent time lag in acquiring Bluetooth travel times (due to the matching of the detections at the upstream and downstream sensors) that should be carefully handled in real-time applications. In this thesis, (1) the magnitude of Bluetooth travel time measurement error has been examined through a simulation framework; (2) a real-time proactive outlier detection algorithm, which is suitable for filtering out data anomalies in Bluetooth obtained travel times, has been proposed; (3) the performance of the existing real-time outlier detection algorithms has been evaluated using both field data and simulation data; and (4) two different data-driven methodologies, that are appropriate for real-time applications, have been developed to predict near future travel times on arterials using data obtained from Bluetooth detectors. The results of this research demonstrate that (1) although the mean Bluetooth travel time measurement error is sufficiently close to zero across all the examined traffic conditions, for some situations the 95% confidence interval of the mentioned error approaches 35% of the true mean travel time; (2) the proposed proactive filtering algorithm appropriately detects the Bluetooth travel time outliers in real time and outperforms the existing data-driven filtering techniques; (3) the performance of different outlier detection algorithms can be objectively quantified under different conditions using the developed simulation framework; (4) the proposed prediction approaches significantly improved the accuracy of travel time predictions for 5-minutre prediction horizon. The daily mean absolute relative errors are improved by 18% to 24% for the proposed k-NN model and 8% to 14% for the proposed Markov model; (5) prevailing arterial traffic state and its transition through the course of the day can be adequately modeled using data obtained from Bluetooth technology.