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An Adversarial Variational Inference Approach for Travel Demand Calibration of Urban Traffic Simulators

Martin Mladenov
Proceedings of the 30th ACM SIGSPATIAL Intl. Conf. on Advances in Geographic Information Systems (SIGSPATIAL-22), Seattle, WA (2022) (to appear)


This paper considers the calibration of travel demand inputs, defined as a set of origin-destination matrices (ODs), for stochastic microscopic urban traffic simulators. The goal of calibration is to find a (set of) travel demand input(s) that replicate sparse field count data statistics. While traditional approaches use only first-order moment information from the field data, it is well known that the OD calibration problem is underdetermined in realistic networks. We study the value of using higher-order statistics from spatially sparse field data to mitigate underdetermination, proposing a variational inference technique that identifies an OD distribution. We apply our approach to a high-dimensional setting in Salt Lake City, Utah. Our approach is flexible—it can be readily extended to account for arbitrary types of field data (e.g., road, path or trip data).