Support for Urban Mobility Analyses

Selected Publications

Since 1998, TTI has led a pooled fund study focused on understanding urban mobility challenges and solutions.

“Support for Urban Mobility Analyses” (SUMA) is the latest project title for this study. Currently, SUMA sponsors include 16 state DOTs, the District of Columbia DOT and FHWA. Over the years, the project has covered a number of aspects of urban mobility analyses.

Tasks of mutual interest to all the study sponsors over the years have covered topics such as: evaluating mobility datasets (INRIX, HERE, Bluetooth, origin-destination waypoint data, NPMRDS, etc.), developing performance measures (for arterials, freight-applications and more) and calculation procedures for them, sensitivity analyses of various delay and reliability thresholds, the process of target-setting, and syntheses on “hot topic areas” (e.g., Tableau for visualization, impacts of AV/CV on delay, resiliency and redundancy measures, COVID-19 impacts, etc.).

The project also convenes an annual meeting where sponsoring agencies have the opportunity to, 1) interact with each other and learn from each other’s challenges and solutions, 2) hear from TTI on the status of the current fiscal year task activities, and 3) scope out the tasks for the upcoming fiscal year of the study.

Current Sponsors

  • California DOT
  • Colorado DOT
  • District of Columbia DOT
  • Federal Highway Administration
  • Florida DOT
  • Illinois DOT
  • Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
  • Maryland DOT-State Highway Administration
  • Michigan DOT
  • Minnesota DOT
  • New Mexico DOT
  • New York DOT
  • North Carolina DOT
  • Oregon DOT
  • Pennsylvania DOT
  • South Carolina DOT
  • Texas DOT
  • Virginia DOT
  • Washington DOT

Selected Publications

The following are selected publications produced through the pooled fund study that have been reviewed, modified and approved by the sponsors. Material that is the subject of non-disclosure agreements is not included here.

Summary of Feedback Gathered on Strengths and Challenges of Mobility Data Platforms (August 2022)
This document summarizes user experiences across various passive mobility data platforms based on responses gathered from a series of surveys and online interactions. The takeaways listed in the document will help users make informed choices for their future data needs.

State of Emerging Mobility Big Data Sources and Applications (August 2022)
This document focuses on big data-based mobility products and their applications. The report is an update to the 2019 document “Tools and Best Practices for Using Passive Origin-Destination Data”. The 2022 report focuses on data products rather than data sources.

Keys to Estimate Mobility in Urban Areas: 3rd Edition – 2021 (August 2021)
This modernized “Keys Report” provides several updates on how practitioners conduct mobility analysis with state-of-the-art mobility measures to enhance performance monitoring, alternative selections, and solutions-oriented policies and targets. This update provides an explanation of theoretical concepts, a detailed process for performing analyses and selecting measures, detailed reference guides and equations for the most-used mobility measures, and tips for communicating and visualizing mobility measure results.

Freight Measures for Transportation System Resilience (August 2021)
This paper documents the results of an investigation to develop and apply transportation system resilience measures with applications across various geographic scopes.

Congestion Pie Chart for Different Sources of Congestion (March 2021)
Presents information on the causes of congestion (both recurring and non-recurring) from a literature review meta-analysis.

Project Prioritization Practices and Methods (May 2020)
Presents information on current practices, approaches, and tools for project prioritization that may improve system performance, address community desires, and includes policy elements for system needs and mobility strategies.

Advanced Tableau Guidance for Transportation Uses (December 2019)
Provides practical tips and guidelines for using Tableau software to achieve visualization goals and build useful, Section 508-compliant transportation visualizations.

Quality of NPMRDS Data on Lower Volume Roadways (August 2019)
Summarizes findings of the nature and magnitude of differences between speed data captured by permanent monitoring stations installed by state departments of transportation and corresponding speed data in the National Performance Measurement Research Data Set (NPMRDS) on lower volume roadways in three states (Colorado, Texas and South Carolina).

Tools and Best Practices for Using Passive Origin-Destination Data (August 2019)
Describes the key data technology characteristics and offers a comparison of technologies to explain what passive origin-destination (O-D) data represent for travel studies, available products and tools and offer suitable applications with best practice examples from selected departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations.

Estimating Planning Level Reliability from Major Projects (April 2019)
Understanding and estimating travel time reliability is critical for mobility analyses, project prioritization and other transportation analyses. This document discusses four groups of tools (and associated case studies) for measuring roadway network reliability, including 1) sketch-planning methods, 2) post-processing methods, 3) simulation or multiresolution methods, and 4) monitoring and management tools and methods.

Transportation Performance Monitoring Visualization Tools (December 2017)
This paper reviews and discusses examples of both “dynamic” and “static” visualizations, the effectiveness of the suggested chart styles and graphic choices, and the advantages and limitations of the technological tools used to create the visualizations.

Market Penetration of AV/CV and Associated Effects on Traffic Harmonization & Delay Reduction (June 2017)
Provides a state-of-the-practice review examining the effect of automated and connected vehicle (AV/CV) market penetration on delay reduction and traffic harmonization.

Practices for Prioritizing Operational Improvements with Capacity Projects (December 2016)
Describes the methods, tools, formulas, or policies that some practitioners use to allow operational improvements to compete with capacity and other projects in the project prioritization and selection process.

Freight Multimodal Performance Measures (November 2015)
Discusses some suggested and widely used multimodal freight performance measures, identifies some of the challenges involved and describes applicable solutions.

Design Standard Practices and the Design Exception Process (March 2015)
This document investigated past literature on design exceptions, flexible design, and other requirements that influence design. Five case studies are included to showcase how design processes have been requested and approved by selected state departments of transportation.

Synthesis of US Performance Measurement Activities (March 2014)
This synthesis describes performance measurement activities of selected state departments of transportation and large metropolitan planning organizations compiled from readily available public information sources.

Developing a Total Peak Period Travel Time Performance Measure: An Updated Concept Paper (May 2013)
This document describes updates to the development of a total travel time performance measure for multi-modal system performance that captures door-to-door sums of all travel times regardless of mode or travel path.

Refining Arterial Reference Speeds for the Urban Mobility Report (May 2012)
Using increasingly-available crowdsourced data for mobility analyses, this report documents the proper selection of reference speeds percentiles for arterial streets.

Detector Life-Cycle Costs and Considerations (May 2011)
Describes the development and application of a tool to estimate life-cycle costs of varied detector technologies including Bluetooth probes, crowdsourced probe data, toll tags, radar, dual loops, magnetometers and video.

Developing and Applying Arterial Corridor Travel Time Index Estimation Models (August 2010)
This paper describes the development and validation of two models to assist transportation professionals in estimating the TTI in the arterial environment during light and moderate congestion conditions for sketch-planning applications.

Conceptual Framework and Trucking Application to Estimate the Impact of Congestion on Freight (August 2009)
Describes the development of a conceptual framework (“freight box concept”) that visually incorporates the effects of geographic area, commodity type and time period on freight mobility and reliability, and successfully applies the methodology in two applications.


TTI SUMA Overview

USDOT Pooled Fund Program — Support for Urban Mobility Analyses (SUMA) Study
Includes study number, lead agency contact and task list.

Requested Funding

$25,000 per year