A vast majority of urban transportation systems in North America are equipped with traffic surveillance systems that provide real time traffic information to traffic management centers. The information from these are processed and provided back to the travelers in real time. However, the travelers are interested to know not only the current traffic information, but also the future traffic conditions predicted based on the real time data. These predicted values inform the drivers on what they can expect when they make the trip. Travel time is one of the most popular variables which the users are interested to know. Travelers make decisions to bypass congested segments of the network, to change departure time or destination etc., based on this information. Hence it is important that the predicted values be as accurate as possible. A number of different forecasting methods have been proposed for travel time forecasting including historic method, real-time method, time series analysis, and artificial neural networks (ANN). This paper examines the use of a machine learning technique, namely support vector machines (SVM), for the short-term prediction of travel time. While other machine learning techniques, such as ANN, have been extensively studied, the reported applications of SVM in the field of transportation engineering are very few. A comparison of the performance of SVM with ANN, real time, and historic approach is carried out. Data from the TransGuide Traffic Management center in San Antonio, Texas, USA is used for the analysis. From the results it was found that SVM is a viable alternative for short-term prediction problems when the amount of data is less or noisy in nature.