TraceBERT—A Feasibility Study on Reconstructing Spatial–Temporal Gaps from Incomplete Motion Trajectories via BERT Training Process on Discrete Location Sequences
Trajectory data represent an essential source of information on travel behaviors and human mobility patterns, assuming a central role in a wide range of services related to transportation planning, personalized recommendation strategies, and resource management plans. The main issue when dealing with trajectory recordings, however, is characterized by temporary losses in the data collection, causing possible spatial–temporal gaps and missing trajectory segments. This is especially critical in
... ose use cases based on non-repetitive individual motion traces, when the user's missing information cannot be directly reconstructed due to the absence of historical individual repetitive routes. Inserted in the context of location-based trajectory modeling, we tackle the problem by proposing a technical parallelism with the natural language processing domain. Specifically, we introduce the use of the Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT), a state-of-the-art language representation model, into the trajectory processing research field. By training deep bidirectional representations from unlabeled location sequences, jointly conditioned on both left and right context, we derive an explicit predicted estimation of the missing locations along the trace. The proposed framework, named TraceBERT, was tested on a real-world large-scale trajectory dataset of short-term tourists, exploring an effective attempt of adapting advanced language modeling approaches into mobility-based applications and demonstrating a prominent potential on trajectory reconstruction over traditional statistical approaches.