Identification of vehicle sensor locations for link-based network traffic applications

Shou-Ren Hu, Srinivas Peeta*, Chun Hsiao Chu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Information on link flows in a vehicular traffic network is critical for developing long-term planning and/or short-term operational management strategies. In the literature, most studies to develop such strategies typically assume the availability of measured link traffic information on all network links, either through manual survey or advanced traffic sensor technologies. In practical applications, the assumption of installed sensors on all links is generally unrealistic due to budgetary constraints. It motivates the need to estimate flows on all links of a traffic network based on the measurement of link flows on a subset of links with suitably equipped sensors. This study, addressed from a budgetary planning perspective, seeks to identify the smallest subset of links in a network on which to locate sensors that enables the accurate estimation of traffic flows on all links of the network under steady-state conditions. Here, steady-state implies that the path flows are static. A "basis link" method is proposed to determine the locations of vehicle sensors, by using the link-path incidence matrix to express the network structure and then identifying its "basis" in a matrix algebra context. The theoretical background and mathematical properties of the proposed method are elaborated. The approach is useful for deploying long-term planning and link-based applications in traffic networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-894
Number of pages22
JournalTransportation Research Part B: Methodological
Issue number8-9
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • Basis link
  • Link-based applications
  • Network sensor location problem

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