Experienced travel time prediction for congested freeways
Travel time is an important performance measure for transportation systems, and dissemination of travel time information can help travelers make reliable travel decisions such as route choice or departure time. Since the traffic data collected in real time reflects the past or current conditions on the roadway, a predictive travel time methodology should be used to obtain the information to be disseminated. However, an important part of the literature either uses instantaneous travel time assumption, and sums the travel time of roadway segments at the starting time of the trip, or uses statistical forecasting algorithms to predict the future travel time. This study benefits from the available traffic flow fundamentals (e.g. shockwave analysis and bottleneck identification), and makes use of both historical and real time traffic information to provide travel time prediction. The methodological framework of this approach sequentially includes a bottleneck identification algorithm, clustering of traffic data in traffic regimes with similar characteristics, development of stochastic congestion maps for clustered data and an online congestion search algorithm, which combines historical data analysis and real-time data to predict experienced travel times at the starting time of the trip. The experimental results based on the loop detector data on Californian freeways indicate that the proposed method provides promising travel time predictions under varying traffic conditions. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.