I am truly excited about INRIX’s latest industry report summarizing the I-95 Corridor Coalition data validations.  If you are not familiar with the project, the I-95 Corridor Coalition’s Vehicle Probe Project (VPP) is the world’s largest single acquisition of real-time private sector speed/travel time data by government organizations.  Administered by the University of Maryland (UMD), it has been operational since July, 2008.  Not surprisingly, the world largest acquisition of third party data has included the world’s largest validation process.

This report summarizes the traffic data quality validations of INRIX data performed by the University of Maryland on behalf of the I-95 Corridor Coalition.  Following a consistent methodology, 42 site tests were conducted in 11 states over six years to determine and monitor the quality of data INRIX provided under the VPP.  All documentation related to quality requirements, validation testing methodology, and site test results are publicly available on the Coalition’s web site.

The I-95 Corridor Coalition VPP Data Validation Summary Report, demonstrates how INRIX data consistently met, and typically far exceeded, the specified data quality requirements established in the VPP contract and illustrates how INRIX data improved in quality over time.  INRIX met the Coalition’s requirement that it’s traffic speeds be accurate within 10 mph of actual traffic speeds on average, with a bias of no more than 5 MPH.  The contract QA process outlined payment penalties for failing to meet the spec and we are proud that INRIX has never been penalized during the life of the project.  In fact, INRIX exceeded the specification delivering real-time traffic information accurate within 2 mph of actual speeds under all conditions (weather, events, and holidays). It is important to note, many of the site test locations later in the VPP were designed to be more challenging to report accurately than many of the initial site test locations, demonstrating high quality data was provided by INRIX in the toughest of scenarios.

Key Takeaways:

–  INRIX data met the VPP quality specifications from the very beginning in 2008.

–  As INRIX improved its processing and obtained more data, accuracy improved during the project, with reductions in error of 57% in heavy congestion and 46% in moderate congestion from the early years (2008-2009) to the later years (2012-2013).

–  The VPP established the first penalty system for bad data – and INRIX was never penalized throughout the six year project.

The bottom line here is that if you are waiting for vehicle probe data to be “proven”, your wait is over.  If you are wondering about the “real quality” of floating car based third party data, this is as clear a summary as you will find and is backed up by independent field validations.  Read the report, browse the independent validations posted on the coalition web site, the questions have been answered.  For transportation agencies of all types and sizes, floating car data presents an immediate opportunity to enhance your planning efforts, increase operational efficiency, improve performance reporting and, most likely, cut agency costs in the process.

The Power of “And”

As I grow older, I find that time truly does fly.  Next month will mark my fifth anniversary with INRIX, it seems like yesterday when I made the decision to leave a great organization and join this team.  Prior to joining INRIX, I worked for one of the leading DOTs in the country for 26 years, the last five as the Director of Traffic Operations.  I left a great job there to join INRIX because I saw so much potential in the data services they were providing and those I knew could be developed as this technology grew.  This report proves what I felt at the time, the enormous potential of these data services.  One of the challenges I have in talking about the potential of INRIX services is the natural resistance to change.  It is natural for people to assume that we are trying to replace their tried and true data collection methods with the new technology.  And while there is potential in retiring some legacy systems, there is immediate and enormous value in adding these services to your arsenal, regardless of the scope of the agency sensor systems.  This is what attracted me to the company, even though my agency was as data rich as any in the country, I saw so much potential in adding these data to what we already had, the power of “And”, being able to draw on the best of all the data.  I also immediately saw how costs could be cut in a way that would more than cover the cost of the data. More information, less cost, win-win.  The course is clear now, if your agency is not using floating car data services; you are missing a clear opportunity.

As Always, Do your Homework

It probably goes without saying that all probe data sources are not equal.  At INRIX, vehicle probe data is at the core of what we do.  We take it seriously, very seriously.  So while I encourage all agencies to explore the value vehicle probe data, as always, it is necessary to do your homework.  This report is a great summary, but the real value is the field evaluations conducted by an independent third party.  So, check us out, and if you are looking at another source, ask to see their summary of independent field evaluations.  Then, if you have any questions, I plan to be right here.

Guest post by:

Ted Trepanier, Director of Product Management, Traffic


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