Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Scoping and Conducting Data-Driven 21st Century Transportation System Analyses

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United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration

U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
Office of Operations
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590


January 2017

Table of Contents

Executive Summary


Background: A Brief History of Surface Transportation System Analyses for Operations

Objectives and Value of Transportation Analysis for Operations

Traditional and Emerging Capabilities

Capturing System Dynamics

The 21st Century Analytical Project Scoping Process



Needs-Driven, Data-Driven Analytics

Navigating This Document

Module 1. Characterizing System Dynamics and Diagnosing Problems

Envisioning Target System Performance

Creating System Congestion, Reliability, and Safety Profiles


Preliminary Analytics Project Statements

Prioritizing Analytic Problem Statements

Moving to Module 2: The Analytic Problem Statement

Module 2. Data-Driven Transportation Analysis Project Scoping

Need for and Characteristics of an Analytic Project Scoping Plan

Defining and Scoping the Project

Selecting the Appropriate Analysis Tool Type

Selecting Performance Measures

Analyzing Data Requirements

Refining Alternatives and Mitigation Strategies

Cost, Schedule and Responsibility for the Analysis

The Scoping Tool

Moving to Module 3: Summarizing the Project Scoping Plan

Module 3. Preparing Data to Conduct a Transportation Analysis

Assessing Data Gaps

Making Data Analytics-Ready

Operational Conditions

Moving to Module 4: Operational Conditions Summary

Module 4. Conducting and Documenting Transportation Analyses

The Analysis Plan

Stakeholder Involvement and Review

Re-Examination of Problem Identification and Diagnosis

Experimental Design for Analysis of Different Operational Conditions

Experimental and Control Cases (with and without)

Analysis Methodology

Analysis Tool Calibration

Alternatives Analysis

Document Analysis Results

Data, Analysis Tools, and Model Sustainability



List of Figures

Figure 1. Diagram. 21st Century analytic project scoping process.

Figure 2. Diagram. 21st Century analytic project scoping process.

Figure 3. Flowchart. Interactions among analytic projects with different time scales.

Figure 4. Diagram. System characterization and diagnostics within the 21st Century analytic project scoping process.

Figure 5. Graphic. Definition of transportation performance management.

Figure 6. Illustration. Transportation system products and negative associated by-products.

Figure 7. Illustration. Example of a measuring system product.

Figure 8. Map. Washington State Department of Transportation congestion maps.

Figure 9. Snapshot. Kansas City Scout traffic dashboard.

Figure 10. Chart. Reliability measures are related to average congestion measures.

Figure 11. Chart. Roadway travel time distributions.

Figure 12. Snapshot. Top multi-vehicle incident locations by route.

Figure 13. Snapshot. Maryland average annual incident frequency during morning peak hours by location.

Figure 14. Chart. National capital region congestion report.

Figure 15. Flowchart. Leveraging direct (data-driven) and indirect (non-data) observations.

Figure 16. Flowchart. Cross-validating observations to create a candidate hypothesis.

Figure 17. Illustration. Example of reconciling perception and observation.

Figure 18. Chart. Risk/reward assessment chart.

Figure 19. Chart. Risk-reward assessment of candidate analytical projects.

Figure 20. Diagram. Project Scoping within the 21st Century analytic project scoping process.

Figure 21. Flowchart. Federal Highway Administration Traffic Analysis Toolbox: Overview of analysis factors to be considered in selecting appropriate analysis tools.

Figure 22. Screenshot. Analysis scoping tool—summary of example user inputs.

Figure 23. Screenshot. Analysis scoping tool—example output.

Figure 24. Diagram. Data preparation within the 21st Century analytic project scoping process.

Figure 25. Chart. Annual average corridor travel time profile on Seattle I-405 south bound in 2012.

Figure 26. Chart. One-day travel time profile with an associated incident.

Figure 27. Illustration. Example probe data from snow plow trucks.

Figure 28. Illustration. A fully connected vehicle environment.

Figure 29. Screenshot. Daily detail views for displaying predicted daily activities and trips from cell phone.

Figure 30. Screenshot. Speed data on two lanes.

Figure 31. Screenshot. All values are missing.

Figure 32. Screenshot. Few values are missing.

Figure 33. Chart. Natural Variation in Transportation System.

Figure 34. Diagram. Various operational conditions.

Figure 35. Diagram. Projects execution and documentation within the 21st Century analytic project scoping process.

Figure 36. Chart. Sample comparison of project alternatives using schematic drawing.

Figure 37. Snapshot. Evaluation of potential transit service.

Figure 38. Snapshot. Summary comparison of transit competitiveness.

Figure 39. Map. Change in speeds comparison.

Figure 40. Map. Comparison of change in delays.

Figure 41. Snapshot. Illustration of an alternative.

Figure 42. Heat map. Speed diagram for one analysis scenario—I-15 simulation.

Figure 43. Snapshot. Accident rates in space and in time.

Figure 44. Snapshot. Accident rates by location.

Figure 45. Chart. Comparison of alternatives across performance measures.

Figure 46. Chart. Summary of monetary benefits across performance measures.

Figure 47. Chart. Sample measures of effectiveness summary table, Minnesota Department of Transportation/ Federal Highway Administration Traffic Analysis Toolbox Volume IV.

Figure 48. Chart. Delay Comparison between two scenarios: In vehicle-hours; I-210 simulation.

Figure 49. Heat map. Comparison of freeway speeds between alternatives.

List of Tables

Table 1. Steps in the generation of an analytic problem statement.

Table 2. Example analytic problem statement.

Table 3. Example high-level allocation of analysis responsibilities.

Table 4. Project scoping summary elements.

Table 5a. An operational conditions summary template - data summary.

Table 5b. An operational conditions summary template - attributes.

Table 6. Project results summary elements.

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