Zhang, Yanru (2011-08). Freeway Short-Term Traffic Flow Forecasting by Considering Traffic Volatility Dynamics and Missing Data Situations. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • Short-term traffic flow forecasting is a critical function in advanced traffic management systems (ATMS) and advanced traveler information systems (ATIS). Accurate forecasting results are useful to indicate future traffic conditions and assist traffic managers in seeking solutions to congestion problems on urban freeways and surface streets. There is new research interest in short-term traffic flow forecasting due to recent developments in ITS technologies. Previous research involves technologies in multiple areas, and a significant number of forecasting methods exist in literature. However, forecasting reliability is not properly addressed in existing studies. Most forecasting methods only focus on the expected value of traffic flow, assuming constant variance when perform forecasting. This method does not consider the volatility nature of traffic flow data. This paper demonstrated that the variance part of traffic flow data is not constant, and dependency exists. A volatility model studies the dependency among the variance part of traffic flow data and provides a prediction range to indicate the reliability of traffic flow forecasting. We proposed an ARIMA-GARCH (Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average- AutoRegressive Conditional Heteroskedasticity) model to study the volatile nature of traffic flow data. Another problem of existing studies is that most methods have limited forecasting abilities when there is missing data in historical or current traffic flow data. We developed a General Regression Neural Network(GRNN) based multivariate forecasting method to deal with this issue. This method uses upstream information to predict traffic flow at the studied site. The study results indicate that the ARIMA-GARCH model outperforms other methods in non-missing data situations, while the GRNN model performs better in missing data situations.

publication date

  • August 2011