Identification of Spatiotemporal Relationships in Travel Speeds along Individual Roadways using Probe Vehicle Data

Reihaneh Kouhi Esfahani, Vikash V. Gayah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The existence of spatiotemporal correlations in traffic behavior on links in a transportation network is potentially very useful. However, traffic metrics are often strongly correlated simply because of natural variations in travel demand patterns and these temporal trends might obstruct more meaningful relationships caused by the physics of traffic. To overcome this challenge, the present paper proposes a non-parametric, moving average detrending method that can be used to remove these background trends, even during non-stationary periods in which traffic states are changing with time. Cross-correlations performed on the detrended data are then used to identify more meaningful trends. The proposed method can also incorporate temporal lags in correlations between individual links, which accounts for the time it takes for information to travel between them. Links that exhibit strong correlations after detrending can then be grouped into communities which behave together using graph theory methods, and this community structure can be leveraged to improve prediction of link performance when information is missing. The proposed methodology is applied to a case study network using real-time link travel speeds obtained from probe vehicles. The results reveal that the 40 links in the network can be grouped into between eight and 12 communities, depending on the day of the week. This suggests that only a handful of links may need to be monitored to estimate travel speeds across the entire network. Furthermore, the significant overlap in the community structure across these days reveals that the network structure plays a large role in spatiotemporal correlations in link travel speeds in a network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTransportation Research Record
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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