Detection Rate of Congestion Patterns Comparing Multiple Traffic Sensor Technologies

Lisa Kessler, Klaus Bogenberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper investigates the detection rate of various freeway congestion patterns and compares them across different traffic sensor technologies. Congestion events can be categorized into multiple types, ranging from short traffic disruptions (referred to as Jam Wave) to Stop and Go patterns and severe congestion scenarios like Wide Jam. We analyze multiple traffic data sets, including speed data from loop detectors, travel time measurements from Bluetooth sensors, and floating car data (FCD) collected from probe vehicles. Each combination of congestion pattern and detection technology is thoroughly examined and evaluated in terms of its capability and suitability for identifying specific traffic congestion patterns. For our experimental site, we selected the freeway A9 in Germany, which spans a length of $\mathrm {157~km}$. Our findings reveal that Bluetooth sensors, which record travel times between two locations, are barely suited for detecting short traffic incidents such as Jam Waves due to their downstream detection direction, contrasting with the upstream congestion propagation. Segment-based speed calculations prove more effective in identifying significant congestion events. FCD tend to recognize Stop and Go patterns more frequently than loop detectors but often underestimate severe congestion due to their sensitivity to penetration rates and data availability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-40
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Open Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems
StatePublished - 2024


  • Congestion patterns
  • speed reconstruction
  • traffic state estimation


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