Traffic Causality Analysis for Robust Road Freight

Traffic disruptions often begin with a crash or a visual distraction, and then the disruption quickly spreads to other parts of the road network. Slowdowns at some locations are especially influential, causing associated slowdowns that affect a large swath of regular vehicles and road freight. These are locations where problems are not necessarily more frequent, but where problems tend to spread widely to other roads. Existing traffic forecasting approaches, including deep neural nets, find correlations between traffic at different locations, but do not find cause-and-effect relationships. Likewise, current work on crash impact analysis is inadequate, because slowdowns come from more than just crashes, and because a slowdown can have subtle, far-reaching effects, such as through rubbernecking. The objective of this project is to find the road locations that are most influential at causing slowdowns at other road locations. Finding these means we can target road improvement funds at the most problematic locations, which will make the road network more robust and help road freight move more efficiently. The expected results will consist of a method to find the most influential roads, with an analysis of California traffic to show which parts of the road network are most prone to causing widespread slowdowns.


  • English


  • Status: Programmed
  • Funding: $100000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    METRANS Transportation Consortium

    University of Southern California
    Los Angeles, CA  United States 
  • Project Managers:

    Hong, Jennifer

    Bruner, Britain

  • Principal Investigators:

    Shahabi, Cyrus

    Krumm, John

  • Start Date: 20240101
  • Expected Completion Date: 20241231
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01893864
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center
  • Contract Numbers: 65A0674
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Sep 21 2023 1:44PM