On how to incorporate public sources of situational context in descriptive and predictive models of traffic data

Sofia Cerqueira, Elisabete Arsenio, Rui Henriques
2021 European Transport Research Review  
Background European cities are placing a larger emphasis on urban data consolidation and analysis for optimizing public transport in response to changing urban mobility dynamics. Despite the existing efforts, traffic data analysis often disregards vital situational context, including large-scale events, weather factors, traffic generation poles, social distancing norms, or traffic interdictions. Some of these sources of context data are still private, dispersed, or unavailable for the purpose
more » ... planning or managing urban mobility. Addressing the above observation, the Lisbon city Council has already established efforts for gathering historic and prospective sources of situational context in standardized semi-structured repositories, triggering new opportunities for context-aware traffic data analysis. Research questions The work presented in this paper aims at tackling the following main research question: How to incorporate historical and prospective sources of situational context into descriptive and predictive models of urban traffic data? Methodology We propose a methodology anchored in data science methods to integrate situational context in the descriptive and predictive models of traffic data, with a focus on the three following major spatiotemporal traffic data structures: i) georeferenced time series data; ii) origin-destination tensor data; iii) raw traffic event data. Second, we introduce additional principles for the online consolidation and labelling of heterogeneous sources of situational context from public repositories. Third, we quantify the impact produced by situational context aspects on public passenger transport data gathered from smart card validations along the bus (CARRIS), subway (METRO) and bike sharing (GIRA) modes in the city of Lisbon. Results The gathered results stress the importance of incorporating historical and prospective context data for a guided description and prediction of urban mobility dynamics, irrespective of the underlying data representation. Overall, the research offers the following major contributions: A novel methodology on how to acquire, consolidate and incorporate different sources of context for the context-enriched analysis of traffic data; The instantiation of the proposed methodology in the city of Lisbon, discussing the role of recent initiatives for the ongoing monitoring of relevant context data sources within semi-structured repositories, and further showing how these initiatives can be extended for the context-sensitive modelling of traffic data for descriptive and predictive ends; A roadmap of practical illustrations quantifying impact of different context factors (including weather, traffic interdictions and public events) on different transportation modes using different spatiotemporal traffic data structures; and A review of state-of-the-art contributions on context-enriched traffic data analysis. The contributions reported in this work are anchored in the empirical observations gathered along the first stage of the ILU project (see footnote 1), providing a study case of interest to be followed by other European cities.
doi:10.1186/s12544-021-00519-w fatcat:u3y4vk33orbsjeualot2kqawjm