A publication, entitled I-95 Corridor Coalition - Vehicle Probe Project General Benefits White Paper, August 2010, offers valuable data and guidance on the use of probe data in traffic management. The objective of the I-95 Corridor Coalition’s Vehicle Probe Project (VPP) is to create a seamless traffic monitoring system that spans the eastern seaboard delivering travel times and speeds on freeways and arterials using probe technology. Data from various sources are fused to present a comprehensive picture of traffic flow. Member agencies have found numerous uses for the data beyond simply travel information, which was the original use at the project inception.
Currently, there are 19 agencies which have access to vehicle probe data. Several agencies are using the VPP data to support their 511 web and phone services providing traveler information. Some agencies use the vehicle probe data to calculate travel times and post them on message signs. Performance measures and travel time reliability, particularly in congestion prone areas, are being calculated using real-time and archived VPP data. I-95 Corridor Coalition member agencies use the project monitoring site to observe traffic patterns within its boundaries, but especially across state lines to anticipate incidents and congestion. VPP data are also used as input for the Coalition’s long-distance trip planner website (www.i95travelinfo.net) and variable message signs to enhance traveler information.
The VPP has been providing data to member agencies since 2008. As noted in the findings below, the agencies have recognized the benefits of VPP data to their respective departments of transportation, traffic management centers, and the public they serve.
The North Carolina DOT utilized its traffic monitoring budget more effectively by using vehicle probes in order to increase the needed coverage. With typical remote traffic microwave sensors, costs of equipment, installation, and maintenance were approximately $48,600 per mile. Vehicle probes saved money by replacing the microwave sensors at about one quarter of the cost, allowing the agency to increase the coverage area. Similarly, the South Carolina DOT also cited cost efficiencies in the agency's use of vehicle probes over side fire radar detectors. The cost of maintaining its radar coverage over 300 miles was equal to the total cost of the vehicle probe data covering 1,200 miles, with probes having the added benefit of transmitting travel time as well as speed data.