Fusing heterogeneous and unreliable data from traffic sensors
Fusing traffic data from a variety of traffic sensors into a coherent, consistent, and reliable picture of the prevailing traffic conditions (e.g. densities, speeds, flows) is a critical and challenging task in any off- or online traffic management or information system which use these data. Recursive Kalman filter-based approaches provide an intuitive and powerful solution for traffic state estimation and data fusion, however, in case the data cannot be straightforwardly aligned over space and time, the equations become unwieldy and computationally expensive. This chapter discusses three alternative data fusion approaches which solve this alignment problem and are tailored to fuse such semantically different traffic sensor data. The so-called PISCIT and FlowResTD methods both fuse spatial data (individual travel times and low-resolution floating car data, respectively) with a prior speed map obtained from either raw data or another estimation method. Both PISCIT and FlowResTD are robust to structural bias in those a priori speeds, which is critically important due to the fact that many real-world local sensors use (arithmetic) time averaging, which induces a significant bias. The extended and generalized Treiber–Helbing filter (EGTF) in turn is able to fuse multiple data sources, as long as for each of these it is possible to estimate under which traffic regime (congested, free flowing) the data were collected. The algorithms are designed such that they can be used in a cascaded setting, each fusing an increasingly accurate posterior speed map with new data, which in the end could be used as input for a model-based/Kalman filter approach for traffic state estimation and prediction.