Revealing the day-to-day regularity of urban congestion patterns with 3D speed maps

Clélia Lopez, Ludovic Leclercq, Panchamy Krishnakumari, Nicolas Chiabaut, Hans Van Lint

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, we investigate the day-to-day regularity of urban congestion patterns. We first partition link speed data every 10 min into 3D clusters that propose a parsimonious sketch of the congestion pulse. We then gather days with similar patterns and use consensus clustering methods to produce a unique global pattern that fits multiple days, uncovering the day-to-day regularity. We show that the network of Amsterdam over 35 days can be synthesized into only 4 consensual 3D speed maps with 9 clusters. This paves the way for a cutting-edge systematic method for travel time predictions in cities. By matching the current observation to historical consensual 3D speed maps, we design an efficient real-time method that successfully predicts 84% trips travel times with an error margin below 25%. The new concept of consensual 3D speed maps allows us to extract the essence out of large amounts of link speed observations and as a result reveals a global and previously mostly hidden picture of traffic dynamics at the whole city scale, which may be more regular and predictable than expected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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