Identifying optimal data aggregation interval sizes for link and corridor travel time estimation and forecasting

Dongjoo Park, Laurence R. Rilett, Byron J. Gajewski, Clifford H. Spiegelman, Changho Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


With the recent increase in the deployment of ITS technologies in urban areas throughout the world, traffic management centers have the ability to obtain and archive large amounts of data on the traffic system. These data can be used to estimate current conditions and predict future conditions on the roadway network. A general solution methodology for identifying the optimal aggregation interval sizes for four scenarios is proposed in this article: (1) link travel time estimation, (2) corridor/ route travel time estimation, (3) link travel time forecasting, and (4) corridor/route travel time forecasting. The methodology explicitly considers traffic dynamics and frequency of observations. A formulation based on mean square error (MSE) is developed for each of the scenarios and interpreted from a traffic flow perspective. The methodology for estimating the optimal aggregation size is based on (1) the tradeoff between the estimated mean square error of prediction and the variance of the predictor, (2) the differences between estimation and forecasting, and (3) the direct consideration of the correlation between link travel time for corridor/route estimation and forecasting. The proposed methods are demonstrated using travel time data from Houston, Texas, that were collected as part of the automatic vehicle identification (AVI) system of the Houston Transtar system. It was found that the optimal aggregation size is a function of the application and traffic condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-95
Number of pages19
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Aggregation Interval
  • Traffici nformation
  • Travel time estimation
  • Travel time forecasting


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