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Analysis of spatiotemporal data imputation methods for traffic flow data in urban networks

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

The increase in traffic in cities world-wide has led to a need for better traffic management systems in urban networks. Despite the advances in technology for traffic data collection, the collected data are still suffering from significant issues, such as missing data, hence the need for data imputation methods. This paper explores the spatiotemporal probabilistic principal component analysis (PPCA) based data imputation method that utilizes traffic flow data from vehicle detectors and focuses specifically on detectors in urban networks as opposed to a freeway setting. In the urban context, detectors are in a complex network, separated by traffic lights, measuring different flow directions on different types of roads. Different constructions of a spatial network are compared, from a single detector to a neighborhood and a city-wide network. Experiments are conducted on data from 285 detectors in the urban network of Surabaya, Indonesia, with a case study on the Diponegoro neighborhood. Methods are tested against both point-wise and interval-wise missing data in various scenarios. Results show that a spatial network adds robustness to the system and the choice of the subset has an impact on the imputation error. Compared to a single detector, spatiotemporal PPCA is better suited for interval-wise errors and more robust against outliers and extreme missing data. Even in the case where an entire day of data is missing, the method is still able to impute data accurately relying on other vehicle detectors in the network.
ISSN: 2220-9964
Issue: 5
Volume: 11