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60010-1 Report Abstract

Benefits of Real-Time Travel Information in Houston, Texas

Kevin N. Balke, Gerald L. Ullman, William R. McCasland, Christopher E. Mountain and Conrad L. Dudek, Texas A&M University, January 1995, 132 pp.

This report describes some of the possible benefits and uses of real-time travel time information in major cities in Texas. The report details the development of a system that used probe vehicles to directly measure travel times between key locations in the north corridor of Houston, TX. The report shows how the travel times from the probe vehicles can be used to detect incidents in the corridor. Although significantly higher false alarm rates were produced, detection rates using the probe-measured travel times were comparable to those that can be achieved with traffic data from loop detectors. A survey of a small sample of commuters showed that the information provided by the system was useful and credible. Because the system provided accurate and credible travel time information, TxDOT dramatically increased the use of their Changeable Message Signs (CMSs) in the corridor to an average of 12.3 times per month. This resulted in an estimated fuel savings benefits ranging from between 33,800 to 67,000 liters/year (8,923 to 17,848 gallons/year).

Keywords: Advanced Traveler Information System, Probe Vehicles, Incident Detection, Fuel Savings

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Reference Report #60010-1