A metric for pattern-matching applications to traffic management

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This paper considers signal plan selection; the main topic is the design of a system for utilising pattern matching to assist the timely selection of sound signal control plan changes. In this system, historical traffic flow data is continually searched, seeking traffic flow patterns similar to today's. If, in one of these previous similar situations, (a) the signal plan utilised was different to that being utilised today and (b) it appears that the performance achieved was better than the performance likely to be achieved today, then the system recommends an appropriate signal plan switch. The heart of the system is "similarity". Two traffic flow patterns (two time series of traffic flows arising from two different days) are said to be "similar" if the distance between them is small; similarity thus depends on how the metric or distance between two time series of traffic flows is defined. A simple example is given which suggests that utilising the standard Euclidean distance between the two sequences comprising cumulatives of traffic flow may be better than utilising the standard Euclidean distance between the original two sequences of traffic flow data. The paper also gives measured on-street public transport benefits which have arisen from using a simple rule-based (traffic-responsive) signal plan selection system, compared with a time-tabled signal plan selection system. ?? 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148–155
JournalTransportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Cumulatives
  • Intelligent decision support
  • Pattern matching
  • Signal plan selection

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