Shawn Turner & Eun Sug Park
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Many traffic management centers (TMCs) have begun to archive traffic monitoring data for a variety of uses, including:

  • Calculation of traffic count statistics and adjustment factors.
  • Development of congestion or performance monitoring programs.
  • Decision support for operations and maintenance (e.g., incident detection algorithms, ramp meter timing, work zone planning, etc.).

Some transportation planning and traffic operations/ITS groups are cooperating on data sharing initiatives, including the use of archived ITS data for planning statistics. The conventional procedures for the calculation of annual average planning statistics as presented in the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) 1992 Guidelines for Traffic Data Programs require a certain level of data completeness. For example, the 1992 AASHTO Guidelines require that a full day of traffic data be available for each day of the week and month of the year in the calculation of annual averages. That is, 84 daily traffic counts (monthly average days of the week, MADW) must be 100 percent complete, with no imputation permitted for incomplete days.

This data completeness requirement is not often met by archived ITS data, because the nature of archived ITS data is that small periods of data are typically missing throughout nearly all days. For example, in an archived ITS data set in which five percent of the data is missing for each day of the year would not be acceptable because there are no days that are 100 percent complete and no imputation is permitted. The paper tested the effects of various missing data patterns on several existing and modified annual average statistic calculation procedures.

This paper addresses the issue of using incomplete archived ITS data in planning statistics. Archived ITS data can be incomplete for a variety of reasons, including communication interruptions, sensor malfunctions, equipment maintenance, road construction, and software or hardware failures.

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Transportation Research Board
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Using Incomplete Archived ITS Data to Calculate Annual Average Traffic Statistics: How much missing data is too much?
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