A Study on Use of Wide-Area Persistent Video Data for Modeling Traffic Characteristics


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Virginia Tech


This study explores the potential of vehicle trajectory data obtained from Wide Area Motion Imagery for modeling and analyzing traffic characteristics. The data in question is collected by PV Labs and also known as persistent wide-area video. This video, in combination with PVLab's integrated Tactical Content Management System's spatiotemporal capability, automatically identifies and captures every vehicle in the video view frame, storing each vehicle with a discrete ID, track ID, and time-stamped location. This unique data capture provides comprehensive vehicle trajectory information. This thesis explores the use of data collected by the PVLab's system for an approximate area of 4 square kilometers area in the CBD area of Hamilton, Canada for use in understanding traffic characteristics. The data was collected for two three-hour continuous periods, one in the morning and one in the evening of the same day. Like any other computer vision algorithm, this data suffers from false detection, no detection, and other inaccuracies caused by faulty image registration. Data filtering requirements to remove noisy trajectories and reduce error is developed and presented. A methodology for extracting microscopic traffic data (gap, relative velocity, acceleration, speed) from the vehicle trajectories is presented in details.

This study includes the development of a data model for storing this type of large-scale spatiotemporal data. The proposed data model is a combination of two efficient trajectory data storing techniques, the 3-D schema and the network schema and was developed to store trajectory information along with associated microscopic traffic information. The data model is designed to run fast queries on trajectory information. A 15-minute sample of tracks was validated using manual extraction from imagery frames from the video. Microscopic traffic data is extracted from this trajectory data using customized GIS analysis. Resulting tracks were map-matched to roads and individual lanes to support macro and microscopic traffic characteristic extraction. The final processed dataset includes vehicles and their trajectories for an area of approximately 4-square miles that includes a dense and complex urban network of roads over two continuous three-hour periods.

Two subsets of the data were extracted, cleaned, and processed for use in calibrating car-following sub-models used in microscopic simulations. The car-following model is one of the cornerstones of any simulation based traffic analysis. Calibrating and validating these models is essential for enhancing the ability of the model's capability of representing local traffic. Calibration efforts have previously been limited by the availability and accuracy of microscopic traffic data. Even datasets like the NGSIM data are restricted in either time or space. Trajectory data of all vehicles over a wide area during an extended period of time can provide new insight into microscopic models. Persistent wide-area imagery provides a source for this data. This study explores data smoothing required to handle measurement error and to prepare model input for calibration. Three car-following models : the GHR model, the linear Helly model, and the Intelligent Driver model are calibrated using this new data source. Two approaches were taken for calibrating model parameters. First, a least square method is used to estimate the best fit value for the model parameter that minimizes the global error between the observed and predicted values. The calibration results outline the limitation of both the WAMI data source and the models themselves. Existing model structures impose limitations on the parameter values. Models become unstable beyond these parameter values and these values may not be near global optima. Most of the car-following models were developed based upon some kinematic relation between driver reaction and expected stimuli of that response. For this reason, models in their current form are ill-suited for calibration with noisy microscopic data. On the other hand, the limitation of the WAMI data is the inability of obtaining an estimate of the measurement errors. With unknown measurement errors, any model development or calibration becomes questionable irrespective of the data smoothing or filtering technique undertaken. These findings indicate requirements for development of a new generation of car-following model that can accommodate noisy trajectory data for calibration of its parameters.



Traffic Data, Transport Geographic, Wide-area Motion Imagery, Vehicle Trajectory, Car-Following Model Calibration