Although trucks move the largest volume and value of goods in urban areas, relatively little is known about their travel patterns and how the roadway network performs for trucks. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Transportation Northwest (TransNow) at the University of Washington, and the Washington Trucking Associations have partnered on a research effort to collect and analyze global positioning system (GPS) truck data from commercial, in-vehicle, truck fleet management systems used in the central Puget Sound region. The research project is collecting commercially available GPS data and evaluating their feasibility to support a state truck freight network performance monitoring program. WSDOT is interested in using this program to monitor truck travel times and system reliability, and to guide freight investment decisions.
The researchers reviewed truck freight performance measures that could be extracted from the data and that focused on travel times and speeds, which, analyzed over time, determine a roadway system's reliability. The utility of spot speeds and the GPS data in general was evaluated in a case study of a three-week construction project on the Interstate-90 bridge. The researchers also explored methods for capturing regional truck travel performance.