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

Does Travel Time Reliability Matter? - Primer

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No.

3. Recipient's Catalog No.

4. Title and Subtitle

Does Travel Time Reliability Matter?

5. Report Date

October 2019

6. Performing Organization Code

7. Author(s)

Kalle Culotta (MacroSys), Dr. Vincent Fang (MacroSys), Dr. Filmon Habtemichael (Batelle), and Douglas Pape (Batelle)

8. Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Battelle Memorial Institute
505 King Avenue
Columbus, OH 43201

MacroSys, LLC
1901 N. Moore Street, Suite 602
Arlington, VA 22209

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)

11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

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

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Primer; October 2017–September 2018

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

15. Supplementary Notes

The FHWA Program Manager was Joseph Gregory, Office of Operations, HOTM.

16. Abstract

This primer provides an overview of the concept of travel time reliability, including why we should care about reliability and how to define and measure it. The primer also describes the cost of an unreliable system to businesses, the traveling public, and local governments and how lack of reliability can impair safety and security. Lastly, practical strategies and actions for creating and maintaining a reliable transportation system are provided along with case study examples of successful State and local efforts. This information is intended to better communicate the concept of reliability and help transportation systems management and operation professionals in designing their own approaches to improving travel time reliability in their area.

This primer is based on information from an extensive literature search and review, which located national and international publications addressing the importance of reliable transportation systems, consequences of unreliability, and successful solutions to improve reliability.

17. Key Words

Travel time reliability, Reliability, Transportation Systems Management and Operations, TSMO, Transportation, Cost, Safety

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classification (of this report)


20. Security Classification (of this page)


21. No of Pages


22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)
Reproduction of completed page authorized.
Office of Operations