Arterial Roadway Travel Time Reliability and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Laurence R. Rilett, Ernest Tufuor, Sean Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper evaluated the effect of the COVID-19 preventive orders on arterial roadway travel time reliability (TTR). A comparative analysis was conducted to examine average travel time distributions (TTD), and their associated TTR metrics, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Travel time data for four urban arterial corridors in Nebraska, disaggregated by peak period and direction, were analyzed. It was found that in 2020, the average TTD mean and standard deviation values for all 16 scenarios were reduced by an average of 14.0% and 43.4%, respectively. The travel time index, the planning time index, the level of travel time reliability (LOTTR), and the buffer index metrics associated with these TTDs were reduced, on average, by 14.0%, 19.7%, 3.5%, and 35.0%, respectively. In other words, whether the test corridors were more reliable during the pandemic was a function of which TTR metric was used. The paper concludes by arguing for a fundamental change in how arterial TTR is measured and reported to different user groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04021034
JournalJournal of Transportation Engineering Part A: Systems
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • Arterial roadway
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Travel time reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation


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