Use of Travel Time, Travel Time Reliability, and Winter Condition Index Information for Improved Operation of Rural Interstates

The Interstate 80 corridor between Cheyenne and Laramie experiences extreme weather conditions that result in a large number of crashes and frequent road closures. The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT)  has invested considerable resources in implementing Intelligent Transportation System Technology in this corridor to address safety concerns and the provision of traveler information is a major component of the intelligent transportation system (ITS) system. Previous work has been done on improving the credibility, reliability, and quality of the traveler information provided by WYDOT but there is still a need to provide travelers with a better idea of the travel conditions they could encounter. Discussions with frequent traveler focus groups have identified a desire for a "rating system" for conditions. Currently many travelers delay travel only when a "No Unnecessary Travel" advisory is posted and view all other messages as representing minor hazards. Travel times and travel time reliability information have gained widespread use over the last five to ten years as a way of conveying congestion-related information to travelers in urban areas but has not been previously used in a rural setting to describe weather-related travel information. However, on rural freeways, there is a greater diversity of user types, which require the study of additional travel time and reliability measures to ensure usefulness to all travelers. For instance, long-distance freight operators, out-of-state recreational travelers, and local residents all have substantially different needs regarding the form and location of travel information. Identifying one or more metrics, and methods of presenting new types of information in the most beneficial manner, will be the core tasks of this research. The I-80 Corridor between Cheyenne and Laramie is an ideal corridor to research the applicability of applying these techniques to a rural setting since the corridor is already heavily instrumented and there is an advanced traveler information system in place. The research problem will address the applicability of travel time and travel time reliability measures from the perspective of both passenger car and heavy vehicle travelers that are either frequent or first time users of the corridor. WYDOT's Intelligent Transportation System Program currently utilizes extensive use of speed sensing equipment, most commonly non-invasive side fired radar equipment. This research will investigate the applicability of using speed sensor equipment as well as vehicle monitoring devices such as blue tooth or wi-fi signal readers to calculate corridor travel times. Bluetooth and wi-fi signal (sometimes referred to as differential RF) readers sense devices in vehicles that emit Bluetooth or wi-fi communication signals and read the unique Media Access Controller (MAC) address that these devices have to match up vehicle observations at different points along the roadway. While these MAC addresses are unique to the device they do not contain identification information to the specific vehicle or driver so they are not considered invasive to personal privacy. Travel times will be estimated using each of these device types as well as a combination of both to determine the technology that provides the best travel time estimates. There is likely a cost advantage of using Bluetooth or wi-fi reader technology over speed sensor technology for the calculation of travel times as well as a potential for more accurate travel time calculations. A travel time estimation algorithm for both the interstate and highway corridors will be developed using one or both technologies, depending on the results of the field tests for both technology types. An alternative technology that could be considered in place of the Bluetooth reader would be automated license plate readers but this technology is viewed by many to be to invasive of privacy. The objective of this research work is to investigate the applicability of traveler information on travel time and travel time reliability measures to a rural interstate corridor for use in making travel decisions by passenger car and heavy vehicle travelers. One or more metrics will be identified, considering usefulness to different traveler classes, including commercial and private trip purposes, and differing familiarity with local freeway and weather conditions. The use of a travel or winter condition index based on travel times will also be investigated to see if this is more intuitive metric to rural drivers.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $180772.00
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Kline, Robin

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Wyoming, Laramie

    1000 E University Avenue, Department 3295
    Laramie, WY  United States  82071
  • Principal Investigators:

    Young, Rhonda

  • Start Date: 20120101
  • Expected Completion Date: 20160131
  • Actual Completion Date: 20160126
  • Source Data: MPC-386

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01483280
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Mountain-Plains Consortium
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC08
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Jun 6 2013 1:02AM