Enhancing statewide annual average daily traffic estimation with ubiquitous probe vehicle data

Xu Zhang, Mei Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Annual average daily traffic (AADT) is a critical input into many transportation applications, particularly safety reporting. For example, the Highway Safety Improvement Program in the U.S. requires states to make AADT data for all public paved roadways accessible by 2026. Because collecting traffic counts on every network segment is prohibitively expensive, a method capable of accurately estimating AADT on unmonitored segments is of great value to state DOTs. The ubiquitous probe vehicle data present a great opportunity to this end. This paper presents an enhanced method for statewide AADT estimation by leveraging such data in Kentucky. The use of the probe data is explored in two ways. First, an annual average daily probes (AADP) variable is derived from hourly probe counts; second, a betweenness centrality (BC) variable is calculated using probe speeds. Including both variables and using the random forest model results in model performance that exceeds those previously reported for statewide applications. Incorporating AADP and BC improves the accuracy of AADT estimates by 30%-37% for all roads and 23%-43% for highways in functional classes 5-7, compared with only using sociodemographic and roadway characteristics. These results demonstrate the value of the probe data for enhancing AADT estimation. The analysis further shows that on roadways having more than 53 AADP or an average of 2.2 probe counts per hour, the median and the mean absolute percent errors are below 20% and 25%, respectively. These findings have practical implications for state DOTs wanting to maximize the utility of probe vehicle data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-660
Number of pages12
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jul 3 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© National Academy of Sciences: Transportation Research Board 2020.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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