Assessment of Traffic Congestion in Anchorage Utilizing Vehicle-Tracking Devices and Intelligent Transportation System Technology

Traffic is increasing in most urban cities around the world, with Anchorage being no exception. According to the United States Census Bureau, the population of Anchorage has increased by over 9.0% (8000 people per year) since the year 2000 [18]. With an increase in population comes an increase in the number of vehicles on the road, which adds to traffic congestion. The exact impact of this increase is not known because the current means of determining congestion in Anchorage is through vehicle counters and sparsely-placed video cameras (that may or may not be monitored). In addition, the only ways drivers in Anchorage can be informed of current traffic conditions is through radio and television broadcasts and 511 information (which is not always updated in a timely manner). Vehicle-tracking devices utilizing a vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) architecture have already been installed in 15 vehicles in the city of Anchorage, and this project will install these devices in an additional 30 vehicles. Further, taxi fleets, emergency response vehicles, transit vehicles, shipping vehicles, navigation system companies, and any other organizations that may be tracking speed, location, and direction of vehicles will be contacted to attempt to leverage the data that is already being collected. From all of the data that is being collected and will be collected, a realistic measurement and understanding of congestion in Anchorage will be determined. As more vehicles are equipped with tracking devices, the data will become more accurate and will include a larger range of the city and state. In addition, the Department of Transportation (DOT) does not currently have much data on the origin and destination of individual vehicles, and this project will provide that information. The overall delay experienced by individual drivers and the extent of cut-through and spill-over traffic due to congestion will be determined. The data gathered in this project will all be anonymously exposed in a public web interface called FreeSim (, Figure 1) that can be viewed by anyone. The current speeds of the tracked vehicles will be displayed using different colors on the roads, as well as showing exact speeds when hovering the mouse over a road or vehicle. Historical data will be maintained so that algorithms can be executed to determine daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, and annual changes in traffic. In short, this project will provide the DOT, the population of Anchorage, and anyone in the world with data about the current state of traffic on the roads of Anchorage and Alaska. The novelty of this project is that the data will be gathered from a continuous flow of data rather than at discrete locations, as is the case with many traffic analysis tools currently in use. As additional resources becomes available, drivers will have the ability to view the current traffic conditions during their commutes, and further, the system will be able to send drivers the streets to take to minimize the amount of time spent in traffic.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:


    309039 / G00003238

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    University of Alaska, Anchorage

    School of Engineering
    3211 Providence Drive
    Anchorage, AK  United States  99508

    Alaska University Transportation Center

    University of Alaska, Fairbanks
    P.O. Box 755900
    Fairbanks, AK  United States  99775-5900
  • Project Managers:

    Miller, Jeffrey

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Alaska, Anchorage

    School of Engineering
    3211 Providence Drive
    Anchorage, AK  United States  99508
  • Principal Investigators:

    Miller, Jeffrey

  • Start Date: 20090801
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20120930
  • Source Data: RiP Project 22618

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01522826
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Alaska University Transportation Center
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT06-G-0011, 309039 / G00003238
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Apr 24 2014 1:01AM