City traffic often exhibits regional characteristics, such as large trucks frequently appearing in the suburbs, and the paths to playgrounds on weekends generally being congested. Discovering and visualizing these hidden traffic regions inside which roads share similar characteristics
of traffic conditions simplifies the modeling complexities of whole city traffic conditions and therefore contributes significantly toward city planning. Unfortunately, such traffic regions always have irregular shapes and are time varying, which makes their discovery extremely complicated.
In addition, establishing a method to visualize and explore the traffic regions interactively still remains challenging. In this article, the authors propose a latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA)-based approach to the discovery of underlying traffic regions (or region topics) from vehicle trajectories
captured by surveillance devices installed along roadsides. They treat vehicle trajectories as documents and the values of different traffic features, such as locations, directions, speeds and vehicle types, as the corresponding words. After applying the LDA model, they obtain a list of region
topics with combined feature values, in which the different feature values are clustered with probabilistic assignments. Meanwhile, they build a prototype system to explore the surveillance-device-based vehicle trajectories according to the discovered region topics. The prototype system, which
consists of map view, cloud view, treemap view and matrix-table view, visualizes the feature values of hidden traffic regions. The authors finally research a real case based on the traffic data in Wenzhou City, a large city in eastern China with a population of more than nine million. They
investigate approximately 157 surveillance devices and 750,000 moving vehicles. The case demonstrates the effectiveness of both their proposed approach and the prototype system. © 2016 Society for Imaging Science and Technology. [DOI: 10.2352/J.ImagingSci.Technol.2016.60.2.020403]