New technologies for data collection and their application for empirical investigation of travel time measurement issues
Washburn, Scott Stuart
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Travel time is emerging as the preferred measure of congestion and mobility. From both the planning and operational perspectives, travel time is considered to be a key and desirable variable for several reasons. Travel time is a great indicator of the quality of flow and operation on a transportation facility, its definition is straightforward and therefore also easy to understand by the commuting public, it is easy to apply to the evaluation of existing and future conditions analyses, it is easy to apply to the comparison of different travel modes, and it lends itself to efficient statistical evaluation.This research investigated two new technologies for the collection of travel time data-video image tracking and voice recognition. Video image tracking appears to currently be one of the more promising technologies for offering comprehensive data collection, automatically, and in real-time. Unlike many of the other available technologies, video image tracking systems have the potential to provide all standard traffic measurements (e.g., speed, volume, lane occupancy, headway), as well as travel time. Additionally, video image tracking systems are not as susceptible to the sampling deficiencies and privacy concerns of some of the other tested technologies.Given that portable methods of travel time data collection will continue to be commonly used, the implementation of a new technology, voice recognition, was also investigated as a new tool for collecting data in the field. Voice recognition offers the potential of providing hands-free automated entry of data. While most previous applications of this technology have focused on dictation type uses, field data collection has very different demands for a voice recognition "engine" and offers many more challenges than the typical benign dictation environment (e.g., office).As part of the process of investigating these technologies for their applicability to collecting travel time data was the examination of significant sampling and bias issues. These issues, as well as important data collection experiences by the author, were synthesized into a collection of practical guidelines that will supplement the existing literature and assist the transportation professional planning a travel time study.
- Civil engineering