Detecting Pattern Changes in Individual Travel Behavior: A Bayesian Approach

TitleDetecting Pattern Changes in Individual Travel Behavior: A Bayesian Approach
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsZhan Zhao, Haris Koutsopoulos, Jinhua Zhao
JournalTransportation Research Part B
KeywordsBayesian inference, Pattern change detection, Smart card data, Travel behavior

Although stable in the short term, individual travel patterns are subject to changes in the long term. The ability to detect such changes is critical for developing behavior models that are adaptive over time. We define travel pattern change as "abrupt, substantial, and persistent changes in the underlying pattern of travel behavior" and develop a methodology to detect such changes in individual travel patterns. We specify one distribution for each of the three dimensions of travel behavior (the frequency of travel, time of travel, and origins/destinations), and interpret the change of the parameters of the distributions as indicating the occurrence of the pattern change. A Bayesian method is developed to estimate the probability that a pattern change occurs at any given time for each behavior dimension. The proposed methodology is tested using pseudonymized smart card records of 3,210 users from London, U.K. over two years. The results show that the method can successfully identify significant changepoints in travel patterns. Compared to the traditional generalized likelihood ratio (GLR) approach, the Bayesian method requires less predefined parameters and is more robust. The methodology presented in this paper is generalizable and can be applied to detect changes in other aspects of travel behavior and human behavior in general.