Travel-time estimates obtained from intelligent transportation systems and instrumented test vehicles: Statistical comparison

William L. Eisele, Laurence R. Rilett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Accurate estimation of travel time is necessary for monitoring the performance of the transportation system. Often, travel times are estimated indirectly by using instantaneous speeds from inductance loop detectors and making a number of assumptions. Although these travel times may be acceptable estimates for uncongested conditions, they may have significant error during congested periods. Travel times also may be obtained directly from intelligent transportation systems (ITS) data sources such as automatic vehicle identification (AVI). In addition, mobile cellular telephones have been touted as a means for obtaining this information automatically. Data sources that collect travel-time estimates directly provide travel-time data for both real-time and off-line transportation system monitoring. Instrumented test vehicle runs are often performed to obtain travel-time estimates for system monitoring and other transportation applications. Distance measuring instruments (DMIs) are a common method of instrumentation for test vehicles. DMI travel-time estimates are compared with AVI travel-time estimates by using a variety of statistical approaches. The results indicate that the travel-time estimates from test vehicles instrumented with DMI are within 1% of travel-time estimates from AVI along the study corridor. These results reflect that DMI is an accurate instrumented test vehicle technology and, more important, AVI data sources can replace traditional system monitoring data collection methods when there is adequate tag penetration and infrastructure. A method for identifying instrumented test vehicle drivers who may require additional data collection training is provided. The described procedures are applicable to any instrumented vehicle technique (e.g., the Global Positioning System) in comparison to any ITS data source that directly estimates travel time (e.g., mobile cellular telephones).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-16
Number of pages9
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1804
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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