Label Assist: Personalized Travel Models for Longitudinal Data Collection

Hannah Lu, K. Shankari

Research output: NRELPoster


Understanding travel behavior is crucial to transportation decarbonization. OpenPATH is an open-source mobility platform which collects and analyzes human travel behavior at the individual level. The mobile application passively senses trips and prompts users to label them. However, users find the labeling process burdensome; less than half the trips are typically labeled, making much of the data unusable in aggregate analyses of mobility patterns. Prior work has addressed the response fatigue challenge through automated mode inference using sensor data, but sensors cannot capture all aspects of travel behavior. We explore an alternative approach in which we leverage prior user input to predict travel choices in novel trips. We first explore trip clustering methods and develop a novel two-step pipeline using DBSCAN and SVMs to extract realistic geospatial clusters. We then propose two strategies to predict trip labels: (i) clustering trips and extrapolating labels for similar trips, and (ii) random forest classification. The random forest approach is able to achieve - $70-80% accuracy (purpose: 72%, mode: 79%, replaced mode: 81%). These novel approaches to trip classification allow us to increase the rate of user labeling by suggesting predicted labels to be verified by the user. Unlabeled trips can also contribute to aggregate analyses, using label predictions and their associated confidences as a substitute. While there exist other travel survey apps with the ability to infer travel choices, to our knowledge, this is the first paper to describe such a supervised system and rigorously evaluate it.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePresented at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 102nd Annual Meeting, 8-12 January 2023, Washington, D.C.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-5400-84502


  • machine learning
  • mobility
  • OpenPATH
  • travel diary


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