Traffic prediction is a spatiotemporal predictive task that plays an essential role in intelligent transportation systems. Today, graph convolutional neural networks (GCNNs) have become the prevailing models in the traffic prediction literature since they excel at extracting spatial correlations. In this work, we classify the components of successful GCNN prediction models and analyze the effects of matrix factorization, attention mechanism, and weight sharing on their performance. Furthermore, we compare these variations against random forests, a traditional regression method that predates GCNNs by over 15 years. We evaluated these methods using simulated data of two regions in Toronto as well as real-world sensor data from selected California highways. We found that incorporating matrix factorization, attention, and location-specific model weights either individually or collectively into GCNNs can result in a better overall performance. Moreover, although random forest regression is a less compact model, it matches or exceeds the performance of all variations of GCNNs in our experiments. This suggests that the current graph convolutional methods may not be the best approach to traffic prediction and there is still room for improvement. Finally, our findings also suggest that for future research on GCNN for traffic prediction to be credible, researchers must include performance comparison to random forests.
* The International Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Perimeter control maintains high traffic efficiency within protected regions by controlling transfer flows among regions to ensure that their traffic densities are below critical values. Existing approaches can be categorized as either model-based or model-free, depending on whether they rely on network transmission models (NTMs) and macroscopic fundamental diagrams (MFDs). Although model-based approaches are more data efficient and have performance guarantees, they are inherently prone to model bias and inaccuracy. For example, NTMs often become imprecise for a large number of protected regions, and MFDs can exhibit scatter and hysteresis that are not captured in existing model-based works. Moreover, no existing studies have employed reinforcement learning for homogeneous flow rate optimization in microscopic simulation, where spatial characteristics, vehicle-level information, and metering realizations -- often overlooked in macroscopic simulations -- are taken into account. To circumvent issues of model-based approaches and macroscopic simulation, we propose a model-free deep reinforcement learning approach that optimizes the flow rate homogeneously at the perimeter at the microscopic level. Results demonstrate that our model-free reinforcement learning approach without any knowledge of NTMs or MFDs can compete and match the performance of a model-based approach, and exhibits enhanced generalizability and scalability.
Recent years have witnessed substantial growth in adaptive traffic signal control (ATSC) methodologies that improve transportation network efficiency, especially in branches leveraging artificial intelligence based optimization and control algorithms such as reinforcement learning as well as conventional model predictive control. However, lack of cross-domain analysis and comparison of the effectiveness of applied methods in ATSC research limits our understanding of existing challenges and research directions. This chapter proposes a novel unified view of modern ATSCs to identify common ground as well as differences and shortcomings of existing methodologies with the ultimate goal to facilitate cross-fertilization and advance the state-of-the-art. The unified view applies the mathematical language of the Markov decision process, describes the process of controller design from both the world (problem) and solution modeling perspectives. The unified view also analyses systematic issues commonly ignored in existing studies and suggests future potential directions to resolve these issues.
* 32 pages, 19 figures. This is a draft chapter/article. The final
version is available in Handbook on Artificial Intelligence in Transport,
edited by Hussein Dia, forthcoming 2023, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd
Offline reinforcement learning (RL) addresses the problem of learning a performant policy from a fixed batch of data collected by following some behavior policy. Model-based approaches are particularly appealing in the offline setting since they can extract more learning signals from the logged dataset by learning a model of the environment. However, the performance of existing model-based approaches falls short of model-free counterparts, due to the compounding of estimation errors in the learned model. Driven by this observation, we argue that it is critical for a model-based method to understand when to trust the model and when to rely on model-free estimates, and how to act conservatively w.r.t. both. To this end, we derive an elegant and simple methodology called conservative Bayesian model-based value expansion for offline policy optimization (CBOP), that trades off model-free and model-based estimates during the policy evaluation step according to their epistemic uncertainties, and facilitates conservatism by taking a lower bound on the Bayesian posterior value estimate. On the standard D4RL continuous control tasks, we find that our method significantly outperforms previous model-based approaches: e.g., MOPO by $116.4$%, MOReL by $23.2$% and COMBO by $23.7$%. Further, CBOP achieves state-of-the-art performance on $11$ out of $18$ benchmark datasets while doing on par on the remaining datasets.
In the coming years and decades, autonomous vehicles (AVs) will become increasingly prevalent, offering new opportunities for safer and more convenient travel and potentially smarter traffic control methods exploiting automation and connectivity. Car following is a prime function in autonomous driving. Car following based on reinforcement learning has received attention in recent years with the goal of learning and achieving performance levels comparable to humans. However, most existing RL methods model car following as a unilateral problem, sensing only the vehicle ahead. Recent literature, however, Wang and Horn  has shown that bilateral car following that considers the vehicle ahead and the vehicle behind exhibits better system stability. In this paper we hypothesize that this bilateral car following can be learned using RL, while learning other goals such as efficiency maximisation, jerk minimization, and safety rewards leading to a learned model that outperforms human driving. We propose and introduce a Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) framework for car following control by integrating bilateral information into both state and reward function based on the bilateral control model (BCM) for car following control. Furthermore, we use a decentralized multi-agent reinforcement learning framework to generate the corresponding control action for each agent. Our simulation results demonstrate that our learned policy is better than the human driving policy in terms of (a) inter-vehicle headways, (b) average speed, (c) jerk, (d) Time to Collision (TTC) and (e) string stability.