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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Individual Vehicle Speed Estimation Using Single Loop Inductive Waveforms


Travel time is the reciprocal of speed and is a useful measure of road congestion and traffic system performance. Travel time is also a basic traffic variable that is used in many Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) strategies such as route guidance, incident detection, and traveler information systems. Previously, speeds were mainly acquired from double inductive loops configured as speed traps, since single loop speed estimates based on assumptions of a constant vehicle length were inaccurate. However, more accurate measurements of speed can now be accomplished with single loops by utilizing inductive waveforms of vehicles that are outputed from newer detector cards. An algorithm using signal processing and statistical methods was developed to extract speeds from inductive waveforms. The results show that the proposed algorithm performs better than conventional single loop estimation methods. The results also show that the algorithm is robust under different traffic conditions and is transferrable across surveillance sites without the need for recalibration. The use of the extensive single loop surveillance infrastructure is a cost-effective way of obtaining more accurate network-wide travel time information. Key Words: speed estimation, inductive waveform, vehicle signature, single loop detector

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