Make It Flat: Multidimensional Scaling of Citywide Traffic Data

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Networks and Systems book series (LNNS, volume 117)


Citywide urban traffic forecasting is widely acknowledged as beneficial yet challenging approach. One of the main obstacles for discovering and utilising relationships of traffic flows at a city level is an extreme complexity and high-dimensionality of the resulting data structure. In this paper we propose multidimensional scaling of actual spatiotemporal traffic data into regular image-like (two-dimensional) and video-like (three-dimensional) structures. Further we adopted existing approaches to image and video processing for making conclusions on the predictability of scaled traffic data. Spatial correlation and filtering were used for analysis of image-like traffic representation and an artificial neural network of a specific architecture – for prediction of video-like traffic representation. The proposed approach was empirically tested on a large real-world urban traffic data set and demonstrated its practical utility for traffic forecasting. In addition, we analysed the effects of different distance definitions (geographical, travel time-based, cross correlation-based, and dynamic time wrapping distance) and concluded the preference of travel time-based and cross correlation-based distances for discovering the spatiotemporal structure of traffic flows.


Spatiotemporal models Machine learning Image processing Urban traffic modelling 



The first author was financially supported by the specific support objective activity “Post-doctoral Research Aid” (Project id. N. of the Republic of Latvia, funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Dmitry Pavlyuk’s research project No. “Spatiotemporal urban traffic modelling using big data”.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Transport and Telecommunication InstituteRigaLatvia

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