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Access to Destinations: Travel Time Estimation on Arterials

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  10/05/2007


The primary objective of this project was to identify and evaluate parametric models for making default estimates of travel times on arterial links. A review of the literature revealed several candidate models, including the Bureau of Public Roads (BPR) function, Spiess's conical volume delay function, the Singapore model, the Skabardonis-Dowling model, and the Highway Capacity Manual's model. A license plate method was applied to a sample of 50 arterial links located in the Twin Cities seven county metropolitan area, to obtain measurements of average travel time. Also obtained were the lengths of each link, measurements of traffic volume, and signal timing information. Default values for model parameters were obtained from the Twin Cities planning model's database. Using network default parameters, we found that the BPR and conical volume-delay models produced mean average percent errors (MAPE) of about 25%, while the Singapore and Skabardonis-Dowling models, using maximal site-specific information, produced MAPE values of around 6.5%. As site-specific information was replaced by default information the performance of the latter two models deteriorated, but even under conditions of minimal information the models produced MAPE values of around 20%. A cross-validation study of the Skabardonis-Dowling model showed essentially similar performance when predicting travel times on links not used to estimate default parameter values.

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