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Standard Test Procedure for Travel Time Data Quality Assessment

General Information

Study Number: TPF-5(200) View Commitment Details Status: Closed Contract/Other Number:
Lead Agency: Virginia Department of Transportation Last Updated: Apr 10, 2014
Contract Start Date: Est. Completion Date: Mar 7, 2014 Contract End Date:
Solicitation Number: 1206
Partners: AL , CA , FHWA , MDOT SHA , MI , PADOT , VA

Contact Information:

Lead Agency Contact(s):
  Michael Fontaine
Phone: 434-293-1980

Financial Summary:

Contract Amount: $297,000.00 Total Commitments Received: $322,000.00 100% SP&R Approval: Approved

Commitments by Organization:

Agency Year Commitments Funding Contact Name Contact Number Email Address
Alabama Department of Transportation 2009 $11,000.00 Jeff Brown 334-353-6941
Alabama Department of Transportation 2010 $11,000.00 Jeff Brown 334-353-6941
California Department of Transportation 2009 $25,000.00 Robert Buendia 916-227-2578
California Department of Transportation 2010 $25,000.00 Robert Buendia 916-227-2578
Federal Highway Administration 2009 $50,000.00 Jean Landolt 202-493-3146
Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration 2008 $25,000.00 Allison Hardt 410-545-2916
Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration 2009 $25,000.00 Allison Hardt 410-545-2916
Michigan Department of Transportation 2009 $25,000.00 Laura Nelhiebel 517-335-0719
Michigan Department of Transportation 2010 $25,000.00 Laura Nelhiebel 517-335-0719
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation 2008 $25,000.00 Lisa Tarson (717) 705-2202
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation 2009 $25,000.00 Lisa Tarson (717) 705-2202
Virginia Department of Transportation 2009 $25,000.00 Bill Kelsh 434-293-1934
Virginia Department of Transportation 2010 $25,000.00 Bill Kelsh 434-293-1934

Study Description

There is a significant and growing need for travel time data. Transportation agencies need travel time data to support system operations and performance measurement. Information service providers need travel time data to provide a more competitive product. Given this need, numerous methods and technologies have been developed to estimate travel times. In some cases, these methods allow for in-house deployment of sensors and computing/communication infrastructure to allow an agency/company to produce the data that they will utilize. In other cases, companies have been founded that derive travel times from various sources (in some circumstances, the company's own sensor network, or from purchased probe location information) to produce a product - a travel time data service - that is then marketed to transportation agencies and information service providers.

Given this variety of approaches, and based on recent experience, it is clear that each source of travel time data offers distinct advantages and disadvantages. It is highly unlikely that a single source of data will emerge as a clear winner that dominates all other approaches. Because of this, consumers of travel time data (transportation agencies and information service providers) are faced with a need to choose one or more travel time data services to best meet their needs. To do so effectively, there is a need for a standard test procedure to use in assessing the quality of different travel time data services. This standard test procedure will create a level playing field that will allow consumers to comprehensively and fairly consider all travel time service options.

Current Situation

In today's environment, when a consumer of travel time data attempts to compare alternatives, the agency/firm is faced with a very confusing landscape that does not support fair and balanced decision-making. Most travel time data service firms will offer evaluations of their products. However, the only constant among these evaluations is that they are all different. The evaluation reports use different baseline (ground truth) data - ranging from point detectors to single or multiple probe vehicle runs, different statistical comparison methodologies - from rigorous hypothesis testing to very broad graphical approaches, and have been conducted by various parties, ranging from consultants to universities. Finally, in many cases, the evaluations were commissioned and paid-for by the data service providers themselves.

The result is that consumers of travel time data are forced to make multi-million dollar decisions based on a series of incompatible evaluation reports, many of which were not produced in an objective environment.
The objective of this project is to develop a standard test procedure to evaluate the quality of travel time data services. The standard test procedure will produce evaluation results that are consistent and will allow for fair comparisons between travel time data services.
Scope of Work:
The research will produce an official standard sanctioned by a Standards Development Organization (SDO), such as ATSM, that will specify a clear quality assessment procedure for travel time data. This standard will then be available for transportation agencies and information service providers to specify when comparing methods/services. In other words, the standard test procedure will allow a travel time data services consumer to compare products of multiple methods/vendors on a level playing field.


To develop a standard test procedure for assessing travel time data quality, two parallel tracks must be coordinated at several key points:

1.Research on Test Procedures and Parameters. Given the large number of methods that have been used for travel time quality assessment, there is a need to objectively analyze these methods, in conjunction with a full understanding of consumer needs, to arrive upon a preferred travel time quality assessment method and associated parameters.

2.Standard Procedure Development. Once the preferred method and parameters has been identified, there is a need to identify the preferred SDO to sponsor the standard, and then a need to work through the standards adoption process.

See link to full study proposal for more details.

Suggested Contribution: $25,000/yr for 2 years


Final Report: January 2007 Final Report N
Final Report: January 2010 Final Report N
Final Report: June 2011 Final Report N
Lead State Acceptance Memo Memorandum N
Official closeout memo Memorandum N
Quarterly Report: July - September 2009 Quarterly Progress Report N
Quarterly Report: October - December 2009 Quarterly Progress Report N
Quarterly Report: January - March 2010 Quarterly Progress Report N
Quarterly Report: January - March 2011 Quarterly Progress Report N
Quarterly Report 7-11 to 9-11 Quarterly Progress Report N
Quarterly Report 10-11 to 12-11 Quarterly Progress Report N
Quarterly Report 1-12 to 3-12 Quarterly Progress Report N
Technical Report #2: December 2004 Report N
TRR 1870 Report N
TRR 1804 Report N
TRB 2007 Report N
Technical Appendix: June 2011 Report N
Study Report Study Summary N
Study Report: July 2006 Study Summary N

Solicitation Documents:

Standard Test Procedure for Travel Time Data Quality Assessment Solicitation N
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