Estimation of the Change in Cumulative Flow over Probe Trajectories using Detector Data

Paul B.C. van Erp, Victor L. Knoop, Erik Sander Smits, Chris Tampère, Serge P. Hoogendoorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Detector data can be used to construct cumulative flow curves, which in turn can be used to estimate the traffic state. However, this approach is subject to the cumulative error problem. Multiple studies propose to mitigate the cumulative error problem using probe trajectory data. These studies often assume “no overtaking” and thus that the cumulative flow is zero over probe trajectories. However, in multi-lane traffic this assumption is often violated. Therefore, we present an approach to estimate the change in cumulative flow along probe trajectories between detectors based on disaggregated detector data. The approach is tested with empirical data and in microsimulation. This shows that the approach is a clear improvement over assuming “no overtaking” in free-flow conditions. However, the benefits are not clear in varying traffic conditions. The approach can be applied in practice to mitigate the cumulative error problem and estimate the traffic state based on the resulting cumulative flow curves. As the performance of the approach depends on the changes in traffic conditions, it is suggested to use the probe speed observations between detectors to assign an uncertainty to the change in cumulative flow estimates. Furthermore, a potential option for future work is to use more elaborate schemes to estimate the probe relative flow between detectors, which may, for instance, combine probe speeds with estimates of the macroscopic states along the probe trajectory. If these macroscopic estimates are based on the cumulative flow curves at the detector locations, this would result in an iterative approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-661
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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