Urban road congestions change both temporally and spatially. They are essentially caused by network bottlenecks. Therefore, understanding bottleneck dynamics is critical in the goal of reasonably allocating transportation resources. In general, a typical bottleneck experiences the stages of formation, propagation and dispersion. In order to understand the three stages of a bottle neck and how the bottleneck moves on a road network, traffic flow data can be used to reconstruct these dynamics. However, raw traffic flow data is usually flawed in many ways. For instance some portion of data may be missing due to the failure of data collection devices, or some random factors in the data make it hard to identify real bottlenecks. In this paper a "user voting method" is proposed to deal with such raw-data-related issues. In this method, road links are ranked according to the weighed sum of certain performance measures and the links that are ranked relatively high are regarded as recurrent bottlenecks in a network, and several bottlenecks form a bottleneck area. A series of bottleneck parameters can be defined based on the identified bottleneck areas, such as bottleneck coverage, bottleneck link length, etc. Identifying bottleneck areas and calculating the bottleneck parameters for each time interval can reflect the evolution of the bottlenecks and also help trace how the bottlenecks move.
Qi, H., Liu, M., Zhang, L., & Wang, D. (2016). Tracing road network bottleneck by data driven approach. PLoS ONE, 11(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0156089