Travel time unreliability on freeways: Why measures based on variance tell only half the story
In recent years, travel time reliability has become one of the key performance indicators of transportation networks and corridors around the globe. Travel time reliability indicators are mostly related to properties of the day-to-day travel time distribution on for example a freeway corridor. On the basis of empirical data a number of key characteristics of this day-to-day distribution can be identified. Most importantly, this distribution is not only very wide but also heavily skewed. The (economic) consequences of this skew are substantial. For example, it is shown that in some peak periods the 5% most "unlucky drivers" incur almost five times as much delay as the 50% most fortunate travelers. We argue this implies first of all that (besides the variance of travel times) skew must be considered an important contributing factor to travel time unreliability. Secondly, it suggests that most of currently used unreliability measures (which are predominantly based on travel time variance), should be used and interpreted with some reservations, since they only account for a part of the costs (that is, delays) of unreliability. This is further substantiated by a comparison on the basis of empirical data from a densely used freeway in the Netherlands between a new travel time reliability measure based on both width and skew, and a number of travel time reliability measures commonly used in practice. The analysis clearly illustrates the inconsistency between all measures, both old and new. In illustration, in cases where the commonly used misery index dubs a particular departure period very unreliable, another common measure (buffer time) considers these periods relatively reliable. Although without objective and quantitative criteria (e.g. economic or societal costs) a choice for any of these measures in road network performance analyses will remain subject to debate, this article provides empirically underpinned arguments to prefer measures incorporating the skew of the travel time distribution.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 42 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/547/description#description|
|Order Information:|| Postal: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/regional|
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Brownstone, David & Small, Kenneth A., 2005.
"Valuing time and reliability: assessing the evidence from road pricing demonstrations,"
Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice,
Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 279-293, May.
- Brownstone, David & Small, Kenneth A., 2003. "Valuing Time and Reliability: Assessing the Evidence from Road Pricing Demonstrations," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt95z0p35k, University of California Transportation Center.
- Yang, Hai & Bell, Michael G. H. & Meng, Qiang, 2000. "Modeling the capacity and level of service of urban transportation networks," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 255-275, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:42:y:2008:i:1:p:258-277. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.