The following paper is now available online!
Chikaraishi, M., Garg, P., Varghese, V., Yoshizoe, K., Urata, J., Shiomi, Y., Watanabe, R. (2020) On the possibility of short-term traffic prediction during disaster with machine learning approaches: An exploratory analysis, Transport Policy (Accepted).
Abstract: Since the cost and time required to finetune parameters in traditional short-term traffic prediction models such as traffic simulators are very high, the prediction models have been developed mainly for managing recurrent congestion, rather than non-recurrent congestion caused, for example, by disaster. Machine learning models are promising candidates for traffic prediction during non-recurrent congestion due to their ability to tune parameters without a-priori knowledge, while their applicability to non-recurrent conditions has rarely been explored. To fill in this gap, this study conducts an exploratory analysis on the applicability of various machine learning models during a transportation network disruption with particular focuses on their ability to predict traffic states and the interpretability of the results. The analysis is conducted by using data obtained during the massive transport network disruption which occurred in Hiroshima in July 2018 due to heavy rain and subsequent landslides. The models tested include random forest, support vector machine, XGBoost, shallow feed-forward neural network, and deep feed-forward neural network. The results indicate that random forest and XGBoost methods produced the best results in terms of prediction accuracy. On the other hand, deep neural network models produce better results in terms of the interpretability of the results, i.e., the results can be logically explained from the perspective of existing traffic flow theory. These findings indicate that the model which produces the best prediction accuracy is not always the best for practical use since it does not mimic the mechanisms of congestion occurrence.