Spatio-Temporal AutoEncoder for Traffic Flow Prediction

Mingzhe Liu, Tongyu Zhu, Junchen Ye, Qingxin Meng, Leilei Sun, Bowen Du

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Forecasting traffic flow is an important task in urban areas, and a large number of methods have been proposed for traffic flow prediction. However, most of the existing methods follow a general technical route to aggregate historical information spatially and temporally. In this paper, we propose a different approach for traffic flow prediction. Our major motivation is to more effectively incorporate various intrinsic patterns in real-world traffic flows, such as fixed spatial distributions, topological correlations, and temporal periodicity. Along this line, we propose a novel autoencoder-based traffic flow prediction method, named Spatio-Temporal AutoEncoder (ST-AE). The core of our method is an autoencoder specially designed to learn the intrinsic patterns from traffic flow data, and encode the current traffic flow information into a low-dimensional representation. The prediction is made by simply projecting the current hidden states to the future hidden states, and then reconstructing the future traffic flows with the trained autoencoder. We have conducted extensive experiments on four real-world data sets. Our method outperforms existing methods in several settings, particularly for long-term traffic flow prediction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Convolution
  • Correlation
  • Data mining
  • Decoding
  • Feature extraction
  • hidden state extraction
  • History
  • spatio-temporal autoencoder
  • Time series analysis
  • Traffic flow prediction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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