Optimization of traffic count locations for estimation of travel demands with covariance between origin-destination flows

Hao Fu, William H.K. Lam, Hu Shao, X. P. Xu, H. P. Lo, Bi Yu Chen, N. N. Sze, Agachai Sumalee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Vehicular traffic between different Origin-Destination (OD) pairs for a typical hourly period may statistically correlate with each other. The covariance mainly generated from the daily variation of travel patterns, network topology, and trip chaining activities of household members can be particularly high during the morning peak hour. With the increasing attention on the OD demand variance and covariance in stochastic road networks, a new criterion is proposed in this paper for measuring the estimation accuracy of OD demand covariance. The mathematical properties of this proposed criterion are analyzed to better understand the relationship between the estimation errors of mean and covariance of OD demands. This paper aims to investigate how to optimize the traffic count locations for minimizing the weighted maximum deviation of estimated mean and covariance of OD demands from the “true” values. To consider the effects of stochastic OD demands on the traffic count location problem in the proposed model, link choice proportions are regarded as stochastic variables and updated by an adapted traffic flow simulator in this study. Both the weighted-sum approach and bi-objective approach are examined with the adaption of the firefly algorithm (FA) to solve the single-objective and bi-objective problems. Numerical examples are presented to demonstrate the effects, with and without considering the covariance of the OD demands for the optimization of traffic count locations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-73
Number of pages25
JournalTransportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • Bi-objective optimization
  • OD demand covariance
  • OD demand estimation
  • Traffic count locations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Computer Science Applications


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