Multiscale Pattern Recognition of Transport Network Dynamics and its Applications: A bird’s eye view on transport

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

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Cities are complex, dynamic and ever-evolving. We need to understand how these cities work in order to predict, control or optimize their operations. We have identified some open issues related to network and data complexity that need to be solved to build feasible methods for these purposes. To this end, we first build multiscale graphs automatically to address a problem that is becoming increasingly relevant in the age of big data, where reducing the network complexity could easily determine the viability of the research in real-world applications. Next, we propose different methods from different fields to extract the essence of network dynamics from the vast amount of spatiotemporal traffic data. One such method is a new way of looking at traffic patterns, combining the field of pattern recognition - with a focus on computer vision - with the traffic domain. The inspiration comes from the fact that humans are the most sophisticated pattern recognizer in the world and we use specific visual features to recognize different complex patterns and we explore if these features can also be used to recognize traffic patterns. Finally, we explore different applications of such mobility patterns such as revealing the unknown correlation between supply and demand patterns, evaluating the scalability of the proposed approach by applying the method to the entire Dutch highway network and transferability by building similar network patterns for public transport networks. Thus, this thesis develops a series of efficient data-driven methods for extracting the mobility patterns of large-scale metropolitan networks and explore some of their applications. With the increasing availability of data in the transport domain, the Achilles heel is not data scarcity anymore but rather extracting insights from this massive amount of data. This thesis is a step forward in solving this complex problem by leveraging the increased acceptance of using machine learning as a worthy and effective method for network-wide analysis of traffic patterns.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Cats, O., Supervisor
  • van Lint, J.W.C., Supervisor
Award date27 Feb 2020
Print ISBNs978-90-5584-263-6
Electronic ISBNs978-90-5584-263-6
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

TRAIL Thesis Series T2020/5, the Netherlands TRAIL Research School


  • pattern recognition
  • network analysis
  • big data
  • traffic dynamics


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