Traffic Congestion Jumps As U.S. Economy Rebounds
There are two key building blocks for the analysis used in the IGI:
- Reference Speed (RS): An uncongested "free-flow" speed is determined for each road segment using the INRIX Traffic Data Archive.
- Calculated Speed (CS): Speed data from the INRIX Traffic Data Archive is analyzed to determine the "calculated speed" for each 15-minute period of each day, for each road segment every month (e.g. Monday from 06:00 to 06:15 for April 2012). Thus, each road segment has 672 corresponding calculated speed values per week – representing four 15-minute time windows for each hour of the day, multiplied by seven days in a week.
To assess congestion across a metropolitan area, INRIX utilizes and adapts several concepts that have been used in similar studies and previous INRIX analyses.
The IGI represents the barometer of congestion intensity. For a road segment with no congestion, the IGI would be zero. Each additional point in the IGI represents a percentage point increase in the average travel time of a commute above free-flow conditions during peak hours. An IGI of 30, for example, indicates a 20-minute free-flow trip will take 26 minutes during the peak travel time periods, which is a 6-minute (30 percent) increase over the free-flow travel time. For each road segment, an IGI Score is calculated for each 15-minute period of the week, using the formula IGI= (RS/CS) – 1.
"Drive Time" Congestion: To assess and compare congestion levels year to year and between metropolitan areas, only "peak hours" are analyzed. Consistent with similar studies, peak hours are defined as the hours from 06:00 to 10:00 and 15:00 to 19:00, Monday through Friday – 40 of the 168 hours of a week.For each metropolitan area, an overall level of congestion is determined for each of the 40 peak hours by determining the extent and amount of average congestion on the analyzed road network. This is computed as follows, once the IGI is calculated for each road segment:
- STEP 1: For each of the 40 peak hours, all road segments analyzed in the CBSA are checked. Each road segment where the IGI is greater than 0 is contributing congestion and is analyzed further.
- STEP 2: For each road segment contributing congestion, the amount the IGI is greater than 1 is multiplied by the length of the road segment, resulting in a congestion factor.
- STEP 3: For each 15-minute period, the overall metropolitan area congestion factor is the sum of the congestion factors calculated in STEP 2.
- STEP 4: To establish the metropolitan IGI for a given 15-minute period, the metropolitan congestion factor from STEP 3 is divided by the number of road miles analyzed.
- STEP 5: A peak period IGI is determined by averaging the 15-minute indices from STEP 4.
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