A Comparison Study of Visualization Methodology for Traffic Analysis




Meaker, John

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Modem data collection and computer modeling techniques create an enormous volume of raw data that is available for evaluation by the scientific community. Traditional methods of analysis often sacrifice much of the robustness of detail in the original dataset in favor of parsimony of expression. Traffic analysis is one area in which analytical methodologies have failed to keep pace with the available data. Additionally the need for robust and intuitive explanations of traffic, congestion and travel time has increased due to the growing trend to solicit more public involvement in transportation projects. Traditionally, the trajectory vector diagram has been the preferred method of visualizing travel time and progress of individual vehicles in the traffic stream. This thesis has adapted the stacked bar graph methodology as a proposed alternative due to its simplification of presentation while retaining much of the richness of the original data that lies behind that information. Using data collected during several traverses of a thoroughfare that experiences recurrent congestion, two graphic presentations were created and a Web based survey was conducted to evaluate these methodologies. Respondents, both traffic professionals and non-professionals, not only answered the questions more accurately using the travel time stacked bar graph than using the trajectory graph, but they also reported preferring the stacked bar graph format. These results demonstrate that simple graphical displays can be effective in increasing the comprehension level of travel time information and increase intercommunication between domain experts and the lay public.



transportation, traffic flow, travel time, traffic engineering


Meaker, J. (2005). A comparison study of visualization methodology for traffic analysis (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


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