Development of prediction models for freeway incident durations using data mining techniques

Chengjun Zhan, Florida International University


The nation's freeway systems are becoming increasingly congested. A major contribution to traffic congestion on freeways is due to traffic incidents. Traffic incidents are non-recurring events such as accidents or stranded vehicles that cause a temporary roadway capacity reduction, and they can account for as much as 60 percent of all traffic congestion on freeways. One major freeway incident management strategy involves diverting traffic to avoid incident locations by relaying timely information through Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) devices such as dynamic message signs or real-time traveler information systems. The decision to divert traffic depends foremost on the expected duration of an incident, which is difficult to predict. In addition, the duration of an incident is affected by many contributing factors. Determining and understanding these factors can help the process of identifying and developing better strategies to reduce incident durations and alleviate traffic congestion. A number of research studies have attempted to develop models to predict incident durations, yet with limited success. ^ This dissertation research attempts to improve on this previous effort by applying data mining techniques to a comprehensive incident database maintained by the District 4 ITS Office of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Two categories of incident duration prediction models were developed: "offline" models designed for use in the performance evaluation of incident management programs, and "online" models for real-time prediction of incident duration to aid in the decision making of traffic diversion in the event of an ongoing incident. Multiple data mining analysis techniques were applied and evaluated in the research. The multiple linear regression analysis and decision tree based method were applied to develop the offline models, and the rule-based method and a tree algorithm called M5P were used to develop the online models. ^ The results show that the models in general can achieve high prediction accuracy within acceptable time intervals of the actual durations. The research also identifies some new contributing factors that have not been examined in past studies. As part of the research effort, software code was developed to implement the models in the existing software system of District 4 FDOT for actual applications. ^

Subject Area

Engineering, Civil

Recommended Citation

Zhan, Chengjun, "Development of prediction models for freeway incident durations using data mining techniques" (2006). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3249726.