Data-driven parallelizable traffic incident detection using spatio-temporally denoised robust thresholds

Pranamesh Chakraborty, Chinmay Hegde, Anuj Sharma

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Automatic incident detection (AID) is crucial for reducing non-recurrent congestion caused by traffic incidents. In this paper, we propose a data-driven AID framework that can leverage large-scale historical traffic data along with the inherent topology of the traffic networks to obtain robust traffic patterns. Such traffic patterns can be compared with the real-time traffic data to detect traffic incidents in the road network. Our AID framework consists of two basic steps for traffic pattern estimation. First, we estimate a robust univariate speed threshold using historical traffic information from individual sensors. This step can be parallelized using MapReduce framework thereby making it feasible to implement the framework over large networks. Our study shows that such robust thresholds can improve incident detection performance significantly compared to traditional threshold determination. Second, we leverage the knowledge of the topology of the road network to construct threshold heatmaps and perform image denoising to obtain spatio-temporally denoised thresholds. We used two image denoising techniques, bilateral filtering and total variation for this purpose. Our study shows that overall AID performance can be improved significantly using bilateral filter denoising compared to the noisy thresholds or thresholds obtained using total variation denoising.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)81-99
    Number of pages19
    JournalTransportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies
    StatePublished - Aug 2019


    • Bilateral filter
    • Freeway incident detection
    • MapReduce
    • Threshold denoising
    • Total variation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Transportation
    • Automotive Engineering
    • Civil and Structural Engineering
    • Management Science and Operations Research


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