Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration
Skip to content

A suite of tools to help transportation planners and engineers improve monitoring and analysis of data to achieve more consistent, predictable highway travel

Reliability Data and Analysis Tools (L02/L05/L07/L08/C11)

Challenge

Motorists continue to experience increasing levels of congestion on America’s roadways. More than half of all congestion is due to unexpected or nonrecurring delays, caused by crashes, work zone construction, special events, or other factors. Inconsistent travel conditions are frustrating, cost travelers time and money, and put motorists and traffic incident responders at greater risk.

Reliability promotes the quality and consistency of travel times encountered by people as they go about their daily lives. To improve travel-time reliability, transportation agencies need data monitoring, analysis, and planning tools to understand fluctuations in traffic and to identify effective strategies to reduce the variable and uncertain travel times caused by recurring and nonrecurring congestion. Traditionally, analysis tools have focused on average conditions and not the range of travel times and how they vary over time in response to various traffic, roadway, and weather conditions.

Solution

The Bundle: Reliability Data and Analysis Tools (L02/L05/L07/L08/C11)

SHRP2 has developed a bundle of products to help agencies address travel-time reliability as part of a logical path of improvement from data to decisions:

Data Collection, Analysis, Decision

These products enable agencies to include reliability in their assessment of transportation alternatives so they can consider a more complete set of benefits in their decisions.

Data Collection

Guide to Establish Monitoring Programs for Travel-Time Reliability (L02)

This guide provides agencies with methods for designing programs to monitor travel-time reliability and helps them establish a baseline of system data to help identify current performance and areas for improvement. It serves as a guidebook for designing, building, operating, and maintaining these systems and addresses freeways, toll roads, and urban arterials, providing direction on technical, analytical, economic, and institutional implementation issues.

Analysis

With improved data, agencies are better equipped to analyze current conditions and the effects of various design and operational treatments intended to improve reliability.

Reliability by Design (L07)

This is a spreadsheet-based treatment analysis tool and design guidebook that helps agencies estimate the effectiveness and comparative economic benefits of design treatments at specific locations. The tool can predict benefits of a wide range of treatments and strategies so that reliability and nonrecurrent congestion considerations can become more integral to the planning and design process.

Incorporating Travel-Time Reliability into the Highway Capacity Manual (L08)
This is a new analytical procedure which enables planners and engineers to estimate travel-time reliability performance measures on major freeways and urban arterials in a corridor.

Tools for Assessing Wider Economic Benefits of Transportation (C11)

Another SHRP2 Solution related to the Reliability bundle includes the product, Tools for Assessing Wider Economic Benefits of Transportation (C11). This product, developed under the Capacity focus area, offers a suite of spreadsheet-based analysis tools that will provide the range of reasonable economic impact expectations for a proposed highway project. One of the economic analysis tools in this suite focuses on Reliability and was tested with the other Reliability Data and Analysis Tools during pilots at several sites.

Better Decisions

Handbook for Incorporating Reliability Performance Measures into Transportation Planning and Programming (L05)

This handbook provides an overview of procedural and technical approaches for State DOTs and MPOs to integrate mobility and reliability performance measures and strategies into transportation planning and programming processes. These approaches enable agencies to include reliability in their decisions about which transportation investments to select. This product will be integrated into the Collaborative Decision-Making Framework web-based tool being developed as a part of the SHRP2 Solutions Capacity Project known as PlanWorks.

Benefits

These tools help transportation agencies better identify and implement strategies to reduce the variability and uncertainty of travel times for commuters and other travelers as well as the freight industry. State and local transportation agencies, shippers and receivers, business owners, and commuters all benefit from this suite of products.

In the Field

State Project Description Activity Contact
Florida Implementation Assistance Program – The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) plans to integrate reliability data and analysis tools into its operating practices. They will update their analytic tools and project evaluation procedures. FDOT will conduct training on these procedures to support performance-based planning and project development. Reliability performance estimates will be used for project funding and prioritization decisions. Proof of Concept Contact information coming soon.
Illinois Implementation Assistance Program – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will test L02, L07, and C11 along two segments of I-55, in Cook, DuPage, and Will counties. Urban and rural tests will take place. The rural test will have a freight component. IDOT will partner with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning to use data archives for reliability analyses. Proof of Concept Contact information coming soon.
Kentucky Implementation Assistance Program – The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will test L02, L05, L07, L08, and C11 in suburban Cincinnati; exurban Elizabethtown; and small, urban Bowling Green. The University of Kentucky Transportation Center will provide technical assistance. Proof of Concept Contact information coming soon.
Maryland Implementation Assistance Program – The Maryland State Highway Administration plans to use L02, L05, L07, L08, and C11 to accelerate its reliability roadmap. The pilot testing will provide a better understanding of congestion and its sources as well as mainstream reliability considerations into their work processes. They will partner with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and Baltimore Metropolitan Council for continued research on congestion and reliability. Proof of Concept Contact information coming soon.
Minnesota Implementation Assistance Program – The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will test L02, L05, L07, L08, and C11. MnDOT is working to institutionalize reliability considerations across agency units. They will enhance the Twin Cities reliability data monitoring system and expand the system for statewide use. They will expand testing statewide and use the tools to support the development of a congestion management plan. Proof of Concept Contact information coming soon.
North Carolina Implementation Assistance Program – The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will test L02, L05, L07, L08, and C11 in the Research Triangle area. Enhancements to L02 data will be tested to improve weather and incident monitoring, data analysis, and data interpretation; L08 and C11 accuracy testing will be conducted; and evaluation accuracy look-back reports will be developed. An assessment of how the product results we incorporated into planning will be made. The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization will partner with NCDOT during this study. Proof of Concept Contact information coming soon.
Tennessee Implementation Assistance Program – The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (KRTPO) will test L02, L05, L07, L08, and C11. The pilot testing will assess how reliability is incorporated into long-range plans at the MPO; included as a measure in short-range planning; and enhances annual performance reporting. L08 testing will be conducted in Nashville. The metropolitan areas of Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga will pursue the adoption of reliability considerations based on lessons learned from the pilot testing. MPOteam members will serve as a project review committee to help TDOT and KRTPO apply the products. Proof of Concept Contact information coming soon.
Washington Implementation Assistance Program – The Washington State Department of Transportation will test L02, L05, and L07 on I-405 in Renton and on I-90 in the Cascade mountains. The products will be used to enhance the development of the DriveNet data collection system; test highway improvement options; and heighten the consideration of operations in project identification, selection, and prioritization. Statewide truck travel is a component of the testing. The University of Washington will support the technical work. Proof of Concept Contact information coming soon.
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000