Study finds that costs of procuring private sector data to support WRTM can range from $28,000 to $200,000 per year.

USDOT researchers identify costs to support WRTM and improve mobility in the United States.

October 18, 2012
Nationwide,United States

Summary Information

In cooperation with industry, and on behalf of the U.S. DOT Office of Operations, research was conducted to better understand the use of mobile data for Weather-Responsive Traffic Management Models and information needed to support those models. The study finds that vehicle trajectory data serves best for the purpose of improving WRTM models, from calibration of supply and demand side relations and model validation to the case of the on-line TrEPS implementation. A framework for how to implement the integration of mobile data and WRTM models was also developed. In this project the process of following the framework and incorporating mobile data into WRTM models is demonstrated by a case study. DYNASMART (DYnamic Network Assignment-Simulation Model for Advanced Road Telematics), a DTA simulation-based TrEPS is selected for this study. Vehicle trajectory data, collected by vehicles equipped with TomTom GPS devices circulating in New York City area during a two-week period, is also used.

Weather events have a significant role in traffic operations, road safety and in travel time reliability. This project demonstrates how mobile data can enhance the flexibility and performance of traffic models that are used to evaluate weather-responsive traffic management (WRTM) strategies. A lot of research has already been completed in this area, so the goal of this project is not to add to that research, but rather to evaluate the available mobile data and its applicability to existing WRTM models.

To date the main sources of data for modeling purposes have included travel and traffic surveys (O-D/travel patterns, traffic volumes, travel times, etc.) and fixed sensors (flows, speeds, traffic occupancy/density). But practitioners and researchers in the transportation modeling field have long sought more detailed and robust data sets than what is typically used in current modeling applications, whether for transportation planning or traffic operations purposes. The emergence of mobile data availability over the past few years opens these horizons with regard to geographic and temporal coverage, level of detail/resolution, and also new types and complexity of modeling.

The data types available from mobile data providers to date (travel time and speed by road section) have primarily been geared towards traffic/traveler information and navigation applications. As the understanding and importance of such data for other applications have risen over time amongst transportation agencies and professionals, we have seen significant efforts (much of it supported by FHWA) to incorporate mobile data into traffic operations and performance measurement.

For WRTM modeling purposes in general though, mobile data can assist in the development/calibration of such models as well as in both offline and online application of such models for analyzing, designing and evaluating the performance and deployment effectiveness of WRTM strategies.

Provided below in Table 7 are costs and associated parameters of mobile data used for WRTM. These costs provide public agencies with some perspective on procuring the types of private sector data they need for WRTM.

Table 7 Public Agency Consumers of Private Sector Data
Wisconsin DOT
Michigan DOT
Texas DOT(d)
Phoenix MPO (MAG)
StatusRequest for InformationPurchasedPurchasedPurchased Purchased
Service Purchased(a)HHHHH
Aggregation LevelHourly day-of-week averages15 min5 minHourly day-of-week averagesWeekday
Data Purchased(b)S/TT, PMS/TTS/TTS/TT, PMPM
Applications(c)PM, TMPM, TM, ODPMPMPM
CoverageAll arterialsHouston regionMI FreewaysStatewide TMC networkRegion
Timeframe1-2 years1 year5 years20091 year
Validation CriteriaNot yet establishedNot yet establishedAvail>99.5% Act less that =/- 10mphNoneNot yet established
Validation TechniquesN/AN/AProbe, fixed point, re-idNoneProbe, fixed point
Pricing (in thousands)$80,000(Est.)$77,000$200,000 per year$28,000negotiating
LicensingMultiple UseMultiple UseSingle UseSingle UseMultiple Use
(a) Service Purchased: “H?=Historical, “RT?=Real-time
(b) Data Purchased: “S/TT?=Speed or Travel Time?, “PM?=Performance Measures
(c) Applications: “PM?-Performance or Congestion Monitoring, “TM?=Traffic Model Validation or Calibration, “OD?=Origin-Destination Studies
(d) See for published study results.

This report, finalized in November 2012, is an assessment of research focusing on the use of technology to address WRTM. The findings along with the costs provide a valuable resource to those considering the implementation of advanced technology for WRTM.

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Use of Mobile Data for Weather- Responsive Traffic Management Models

Author: Hani Mahmassani, Richard Mudge, Tian Hou, and Jiwon Kim

Published By: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

Source Date: October 18, 2012


System Cost

WRTM mobile data $28,000 to $200,000.


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weather responsive traffic management, traffic signal systems

Cost ID: 2013-00294