Cost-Effective Measures and Planning Procedures for Travel Time, Delay, and Reliability

In order to gain and sustain public (and legislative) understanding and support for the management and stewardship of their transportation systems, state departments of transportation (DOTs), metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs), transit authorities, and others want to develop and employ system-performance measures that express congestion and mobility in terms that system users can appreciate and understand. There is heightened interest in measures of travel time, delay, and reliability. This interest is based on the need for improved planning and analytical procedures to measure and predict how individual traveler and goods movements will be affected by incidents and other generators of non-recurring delay. There is also a need for measurements that individuals can use to reduce the uncertainty and loss of productivity that occur when system reliability is low. These measures will be appropriate for use in system planning, corridor development, priority programming, and operations (including public information programs) to improve transportation system performance. Such measures also will be useful in management and performance reporting by the responsible agencies. Use of travel time, delay, and reliability as performance measures is hampered by complex data requirements, data accuracy issues, and inadequate procedures for incorporating these measures into the transportation planning process. One reason that these measures have not been more widely implemented is that they can be expensive and difficult to generate. A relatively small number of public agencies have the data collection programs or analytical forecasting capabilities to generate reliable estimates of these measures. In many states, travel time data are available for relatively few corridors and sample sizes are small. The high costs associated with more comprehensive data collection programs deter many states from investing in such programs. States and MPOs are testing the use of loop detector data and other ITS-collected data to develop travel time, delay, and reliability measures, but these too are fairly sophisticated and, at present, costly efforts. There is a need for structured, cost-effective measures of travel time, delay, and reliability that can be used by practitioners in predicting, measuring, monitoring, and reporting transportation system performance. The objective of this project is to develop a guidebook that presents a framework and cost-effective methods to predict, measure, and report travel time, delay, and reliability data from a customer-oriented perspective. The framework will address time of day, transit and highway, passenger and freight, vehicle and user types, and levels of aggregation (such as facility type, functional classification, and system/corridor/segment). The framework will also present and assess various data collection methods, analysis approaches, and applications that most effectively support transportation planning and decision making for capital and operational investments and for quality-of-service monitoring and evaluation. The methods should be presented in a useful manner for application in a range of settings and complexity.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $299489.00
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 7-15

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Sundstrom, Lori

  • Performing Organizations:

    Cambridge Systematics, Incorporated

    150 Cambridge Park Drive, Suite 4000
    Cambridge, MA  United States  02140-2369
  • Principal Investigators:

    Pickrell, Steven

  • Start Date: 20040201
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20070515
  • Source Data: RiP Project 8496

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01463142
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Cooperative Highway Research Program
  • Contract Numbers: Project 7-15
  • Files: RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:17PM