Transport Analytics Based on Cellular Network Signalling Data

Sammanfattning: Cellular networks of today generate a massive amount of signalling data. A large part of this signalling is generated to handle the mobility of subscribers and contains location information that can be used to fundamentally change our understanding of mobility patterns. However, the location data available from standard interfaces in cellular networks is very sparse and an important research question is how this data can be processed in order to efficiently use it for traffic state estimation and traffic planning.In this thesis, the potentials and limitations of using this signalling data in the context of estimating the road network traffic state and understanding mobility patterns is analyzed. The thesis describes in detail the location data that is available from signalling messages in GSM, GPRS and UMTS networks, both when terminals are in idle mode and when engaged in a telephone call or a data session. The potential is evaluated empirically using signalling data and measurements generated by standard cellular phones. The data used for analysis of location estimation and route classification accuracy (Paper I-IV in the thesis) is collected using dedicated hardware and software for cellular network analysis as well as tailor-made Android applications. For evaluation of more advanced methods for travel time estimation, data from GPS devices located in Taxis is used in combination with data from fixed radar sensors observing point speed and flow on the road network (Paper V). To evaluate the potential in using cellular network signalling data for analysis of mobility patterns and transport planning, real data provided by a cellular network operator is used (Paper VI).The signalling data available in all three types of networks is useful to estimate several types of traffic data that can be used for traffic state estimation as well as traffic planning. However, the resolution in time and space largely depends on which type of data that is extracted from the network, which type of network that is used and how it is processed.The thesis proposes new methods based on integrated filtering and classification as well as data assimilation and fusion that allows measurement reports from the cellular network to be used for efficient route classification and estimation of travel times. The thesis also shows that participatory sensing based on GPS equipped smartphones is useful in estimating radio maps for fingerprint-based positioning as well as estimating mobility models for use in filtering of course trajectory data from cellular networks.For travel time estimation, it is shown that the CEP-67 location accuracy based on the proposed methods can be improved from 111 meters to 38 meters compared to standard fingerprinting methods. For route classification, it is shown that the problem can be solved efficiently for highway environments using basic classification methods. For urban environments the link precision and recall is improved from 0.5 and 0.7 for standard fingerprinting to 0.83 and 0.92 for the proposed method based on particle filtering with integrity monitoring and Hidden Markov Models.Furthermore, a processing pipeline for data driven network assignment is proposed for billing data to be used when inferring mobility patterns used for traffic planning in terms of OD matrices, route choice and coarse travel times. The results of the large-scale data set highlight the importance of the underlying processing pipeline for this type of analysis. However, they also show very good potential in using large data sets for identifying needs of infrastructure investment by filtering out relevant data over large time periods.

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