New Paper in Transportation Research Part C: Quantifying the Dynamic Predictability of Train Delays

Our paper on “Quantifying the dynamic predictability of train delay with uncertainty-aware neural networks” has been published in Transportation Research Part C!

In light of the importance of accurate delay prediction for transport services and passengers, many predictive methods have been proposed. However, they hardly account for the involved uncertainty and there is a lack of work analysing the dynamic predictability over time. We fill this gap with an uncertainty-aware neural network and a framework for describing the predictability by the prediction horizon. The results on Swiss train delay data show 1) an exponential decay of the predictability by the horizon, 2) a significant portion of (aleatoric) data uncertainty in contrast to model uncertainty, and clear advantages of the NN compared to MC models.

For more details, check out our paper! This work was done in collaboration with the Institute for Trans­port Plan­ning and Sys­tems at ETH Zurich.

New paper published in the Journal of Transport Geography – Car sharing demand prediction

Our paper titled “Spatially-aware station based car-sharing demand prediction” is now published open-access in the Journal of Transport Geography!

In this paper, we analyze long-term station-based car-sharing demand (i.e., the monthly number of reservations per station), and fit local and global models to the demand. Spatially-aware models and methods for interpretability improved our understanding of the effect of different features in varying locations. Our models can assist in planning new car sharing stations, an important avenue towards more sustainable transportation.

This work is part of the Vehicle-to-grid for Car Sharing project.

New paper in Transportation Research Part D – Time flexibility of car sharing users

Our paper titled “Vehicle-to-grid and car sharing: Willingness for flexibility in reservation times in Switzerland” presents the results of a stated preference survey conducted with 777 Mobility car sharing users in Switzerland. This study was part of our Vehicle-to-grid for Car Sharing project, funded by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, where we aim to analyze the potential of integrating V2G in car sharing services. Understanding the time flexibility of car sharing users is crucial for designing dynamic pricing strategies, for example with the goal to incentivize users to shift their reservation times and thereby to increase the flexibility for V2G.
We found the value of time to be 31CHF/h on average, where older adults, lower income groups and employed adults tend to have lower flexibility. For more details, see our paper published in Transportation Research Part D.

We invite you to join our workshop on Reproducibility in Tracking Data Analysis and Mobility Research at ACM SIGSPATIAL

This year at the ACM SIGSPATIAL conference, we are hosting a workshop on Reproducibility in Tracking Data Analysis and Mobility Research (!

Considering the fast methodological advances in spatial data science, the topic of reproducibility is more important than ever before. To foster common standards and transparency, we aim to bring researchers together in this session to discuss challenges and future pathways for reproducible spatial data science, with a focus on mobility data. The workshop is planned as a particularly interactive session, including a hands-on tutorial on tracking data preprocessing where you can bring your own data.

Please sign up here if you plan to attend the workshop. We hope to see you there on Monday, November 13th, in Hamburg!

New IJGIS Paper is online – using context data to improve traffic forecasting

Our new paper entitled “Incorporating multimodal context information into traffic speed forecasting through graph deep learning” is now online at IJGIS.

In this work, we propose a multimodal context-based graph convolutional neural network (MCGCN) model to fuse context data into traffic speed prediction, including spatial and temporal contexts. The proposed model comprises three modules, i.e., (a) hierarchical spatial embedding to learn spatial representations by organizing spatial contexts from different dimensions, (b) multivariate temporal modeling to learn temporal representations by capturing dependencies of multivariate temporal contexts and (c) attention-based multimodal fusion to integrate traffic speed with the spatial and temporal context representations for multi-step speed prediction. We conduct extensive experiments in Singapore. Compared to the baseline model (STGCN), our results demonstrate the importance of multimodal contexts with the mean-absolute-error improvement of 0.29 km/h, 0.45 km/h and 0.89 km/h in 30-min, 60-min and 120-min speed prediction, respectively. We also explore how different contexts affect traffic speed forecasting, providing references for stakeholders to understand the relationship between context information and transportation systems. Check out the open-access paper online!

Paper published in the Journal of LBS

Our paper titled “Influence of tracking duration on the privacy of individual mobility graphs” was published by the Journal of Location Based Services! In this work, we use a GPS tracking dataset and analyze how the tracking duration affects the risk for users to be re-identified; i.e., by matching to previously stored tracking data. It is well known that the tracking data of a user is quite unique and can be matched to stored data easily; however, we study the risk of a representation of tracking data that is already privatised, namely so-called location graphs. Location graphs do not reveal the geocoordinates or time stamps of the places that a user visited, but just the topology of the mobility behaviour. Nevertheless, users can be re-identified with a top-1 accuracy of up to 20%, and the re-identification risk strongly depends on the tracking duration of the user, as well as the duration of the stored data (pool), as shown in the figure below. Check out our paper and code for more information!

New CEUS paper published – presenting our open-source library Trackintel

Over the past years, MIE lab has been developing an open-source Python library for analyzing human mobility data. Trackintel provides a standardized pipeline for loading, preprocessing, and analyzing tracking data, as shown in the graphic below.  In the paper titled “Trackintel: An open-source Python library for human mobility analysis”, we describe the functionality of the library and demonstrate it in a case study on several datasets.
The paper is available open-access.

New TR_C paper online – “Conserved quantities in human mobility”

Our new paper entitled “Conserved quantities in human mobility: From locations to trips” was accepted at Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies and is now available online.

We use two high-resolution user-labelled datasets from ~3800 individuals to analyse individuals’ activity–travel behaviour over the long term. We find that individuals maintain a conserved quantity in the number of essential travel mode and activity location combinations over time. A typical individual maintains 15 mode–location combinations, of which 7 are travelled with a private vehicle every 5 weeks. The dynamics of this stability reveal that the exploration speed of locations is faster than the one for travel modes, and they can both be well-modelled using a power-law fit that slows down over time.

Our findings enrich the understanding of the long-term intra-person variability in activity–travel behaviour and open new possibilities for designing mobility simulation models.

Check out the open-access paper online!

New CEUS paper online: “Graph based mobility profiling”

Our new paper on “Graph based mobility profiling” was accepted at Computers, Environment and Urban Systems (CEUS) and is now available online. We propose a graph based workflow to identify groups of persons with similar mobility behavior based on person specific graphs that describe the mobility behavior. Our approach is privacy friendly, does not depend on a specific clustering algorithm, is robust against the choice of hyperparameters, does not require specific labels in the dataset, and is not limited to specific types of tracking data. We show in the paper how this can be used to evaluate the impact of new mobility offers.

The paper is open access and the source code of the project is available on our Github.