Measurement valuation of public transport reliability

Land Transport New Zealand has released a report that explores methods of measuring the value placed on public transport reliability in different contexts in New Zealand.

Reliability relates to an uncertainty in the time taken to travel from the start to the end of a person’s journey. For a public transport journey, reliability can affect users in one of two ways: as a delay when picking up the passenger and as a delay when the passenger is on the service. One or both of these sources of unreliability causes passengers to arrive at their destination at a different time than scheduled.

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RFID tags in the road hold promise for smarter vehicle location systems

What makes intelligent vehicles smart? The ability of a vehicle to ‘know’ where it is at any given moment is one measure of intelligence that enables a host of intelligent transportation systems applications, from basic navigation assistance to automatic collision warning.

Many vehicle location and positioning applications are built around Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, which, in theory, provides the capability to locate a GPS-equipped vehicle anywhere on the Earth’s surface. However, in practice, GPS is limited by the need for clear ‘views’ of orbiting satellites; bridges, tunnels, and the urban canyons of downtown areas can block or interfere with GPS signals, resulting in unacceptable gaps in service.

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Using Transport Models to Evaluate Energy, Climate Change and Air Quality Impacts

Energy: Strategic transport models output vehicle flows and average link speeds on road and public transport network links. Flows are usually categorised by vehicle type, typically passenger cars; and commercial vehicles (disaggregated by light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles), as well as bus flows and bus speeds. Average speed and fuel consumption relationships may be used to estimate total fuel consumption on each link. National evaluation guidelines in Australia recommend typical values for a number of evaluation parameters, including fuel consumption estimation.

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Improve mobility to mitigate congestion?

Congestion has many potential causes and improving mobility helps mitigate the problem. Reducing congestion means reduced delay, more predictable and lower trip times, lower travel costs and reduced emissions.

The first option to be considered is to make better use of existing infrastructure as they are usually most cost-effective, are flexible in being tailored to each particular situation, can be implemented rapidly and provide publicly visible changes.

Quick clearance of traffic incidents has the potential for considerable reductions in congestion. Attention to traffic flows at road works sites is also important.

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Why have a quick clearance policy?

In high traffic congested areas rapid clearance of incidents results in positive perceptions by road users and engenders support from government, especially in relation to funding traffic operations.

Quick clearance is the practice of rapidly and safely removing temporary obstructions from the roadway. To find out more see the Transportation Research Board synthesis in 2003 titled Safe and Quick Clearance of Traffic Incidents.

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Traffic Detector Handbook

Managing traffic requires being able to detect a variety of vehicles characteristics in different circumstances, for different purposes: traffic flows, volumes, speeds and vehicle types for planning and design; detecting incidents for emergency response; flows on ramps for metering; vehicle volumes approaching intersections for signal timing and control; and traffic conditions for traveller information are some examples.

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Can advances in intelligent vehicles help?

Developments in intelligent transport systems, particularly transmission of real-time information between vehicles (vehicle-to-vehicle), and with road network operators (vehicle-to-infrastructure), have led to consideration of further applications to deliver critical road safety and mobility outcomes.

Despite the advances made since the 1970’s, communities are demanding further improvements in road safety, reductions in the growing impact of congestion on mobility and reliability of travel, and reductions in energy use and emissions due to road transport.

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I-95 Corridor Coalition TMC Simulation

The I-95 Corridor Coalition is an alliance of transportation agencies, toll authorities, and related organizations, from the State of Maine in the northeast right down the US to the State of Florida in the south.

The I-95 Corridor Coalition offers several web-based courses. In the TMC Simulation Program, you act as a TMC operator.

Due to the variety of technologies used in different Traffic Management Centers, there are two different simulation areas. The operator in the High-Tech TMC uses a Traffic Monitoring System to manage resources like a computer automated dispatch System, CCTV, pager system, dynamic or variable message signs, pavement weather sensors, traffic detectors, etc.

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Monitoring and modelling travel time reliability

The use of reliability of trip arrival times does not normally form part of network performance monitoring and modelling. Reasons to monitor and model reliability of trip times include:
(a) monitoring the performance of road network;
(b) monitoring the performance of public transport networks and services; and
(c) evaluating future options.

Although some national guidelines point the way regarding reliability valuations (UK, New Zealand and Australia), current practice is somewhat lagging behind recommended approaches. There is considerable evidence from stated preference survey results related to demand estimation for toll roads and public transport projects, that traveller’s willingness to pay, extends to reliability of travel time, especially for time-sensitive trips.

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Freeway Service Patrol returns high benefit

A research study found that a Virginia DOT Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) provides a 4.7 to 1 benefit-cost ratio.

The Hampton Roads FSP, which consists of 48 vehicles and operates 24/7 on 80 miles of interstate highway, responded to 40,700 incidents during the 12-month period evaluated.

The patrols aim to reduce congestion, improve safety and customer service. Other benefits include reduced secondary incidents, increasing safety and saving additional delays.

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