TRB 2016 Blue Ribbon Committee
16th National Transportation Planning Applications Conference

Using NPMRDS travel times to analyze and report traffic performance in the Dallas – Fort Worth metropolitan area

Corresponding Author: Francisco Torres, North Central Texas Council of Governments

Presented By: Hong Zheng, North Central Texas Council of Governments


Since July 2013, the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) of the Dallas – Fort Worth metropolitan area, has been using and storing the travel time data made available by Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) as part of the National Performance Management Research Data Set (NPMRDS). The database from this source for the North Central Texas area contains more than 780 million records of travel times at five minute intervals for the period between July 2013 and August 2016. These records are associated to a roadway network of 9,300 segments, called Traffic Message Centers (TMCs) , which cover a length of 9,126 miles; where 70% of the regional vehicle-miles travelled are generated.

Gaining access and managing the massive size of the NPMRDS has become a challenge for all planning agencies as it requires the use of specialized tools designed for the manipulation and analysis of large databases. The application will show the process followed by NCTCOG to store, integrate and analyze the travel time data in a SQL Server database. The process to integrate the data into a geographic layer is also detailed.

The analysis and presentation of the NPMRDS has proven very successful in communicating congestion and traffic patterns to decision makers, stakeholders and the general public in our region. The presentation will show examples of analyses and visualizations that are related to the following: traffic congestion heat maps, before and after studies, travel time differences between High-occupancy vehicle (HOV)/managed lanes and main lanes, time of day periods, ranking of corridors based on reliability and mobility, detection of bottlenecks, identification of recurring congestion, validation of travel demand model, and travel time contours.


Discuss This Abstract