Tracking traffic congestion and accidents using social media data : A case study of Shanghai

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Original languageEnglish
Article number106618
Journal / PublicationAccident Analysis and Prevention
Online published26 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


Traffic congestion and accidents take a toll on commuters' daily experiences and society. Locating the venues prone to congestion and accidents and capturing their perception by public members is invaluable for transport policy-makers. However, few previous methods consider user perception toward the accidents and congestion in finding and profiling the accident- and congestion-prone areas, leaving decision-makers unaware of the subsequent behavior responses and priorities of retrofitting measures. This study develops a framework to identify and characterize the accident- and congestion-prone areas heatedly discussed on social media. First, we use natural language processing and deep learning to detect the accident- and congestion-relevant Chinese microblogs posted on Sina Weibo, a Chinese social media platform. Then a modified Kernel Density Estimation method considering the sentiment of microblogs is employed to find the accident- and congestion-prone regions. The results show that the 'congestion-prone areas' discussed on social media are mainly distributed throughout the historical urban core and the Northwest of Pudong New Area, in reasonably good agreements with actual congestion records. In contrast, the 'accident-prone areas' are primarily found in locations with severe accidents. Finally, the above venues are characterized in spatio-temporal and semantic aspects to understand the nature of the incidents and assess the priority level for mitigation measures. The outcomes can provide a reference for traffic authorities to inform resource allocation and prioritize mitigation measures in future traffic management.

Research Area(s)

  • Geographic information science, Kernel density estimation, Natural language processing, Social media data, Traffic accident, Traffic congestion

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