What’s Wrong with Estimating Traffic Congestion Using GPS Statistics?

The problems with measuring traffic congestion (Felix Salmon, Reuters, Oct. 17, 2012

Also discussed here: The problems of measuring traffic congestion (Road Pricing, May 15, 2013)

And here: TomTom Congestion Index(Tom Tom, Mar. 22, 2013)

And here: TomTom North American Congestion Index(68 page pdf, Tom Tom, Mar. 22, 2013)

Today we review an article that criticizes the effort to estimate congestion in 120 cities world-wide  by a major GPS producer, TomTom. The author, Felix Salmon, points out several issues that reduce confidence in the city by city congestion indices: the lack of an independent measure of congestion that would calibrate the GPS-based estimates, the assumption that the speeds of vehicles using the GPS represent the speeds of the average or all vehicles on the road at the time and the weight given to various road segments being measured. The bottom line is that the efforts to reduce congestion by road pricing require a sound way of measuring congestion in order to recognize success or failure of the pricing method used in a given city. While TomTom should be congratulated for its efforts so far, it seems that a second or third objective and consistent way of measuring congestion is needed.

tom tom congestion

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE


One Response

  1. The INRIX France Traffic Scorecard uniquely measures the country’s traffic congestion problem by going beyond the traditional limitations of road sensors and statistical sampling techniques to evaluate real-time traffic on almost every major metropolitan roadway in France. It leverages INRIX’s Smart Driver Network, the first truly national traffic data collection network based on a crowd-sourced approach to collecting traffic information.

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