Surveillance Options for Monitoring Arterial Traffic Conditions

The interest in and need for monitoring and reporting on arterial traffic conditions have increased with the growing implementation of both traffic management and traveler information systems. Because an increasing number of travelers are turning to the Internet for information, agencies are seeking ways to present arterial traffic data on this medium that are both understandable and useful to the public. At the same time, these same data must provide additional operational insight to public agency traffic management staff. However, although the idea of reporting arterial conditions is similar to that of monitoring and reporting freeway traffic conditions, different and innovative methods appear necessary for arterials because freeways and arterials differ in many aspects, particularly the effects of signals on traffic flow and speed.

The research approach for this project consists of a literature search, a series of personal interviews, and the development and user testing of alternative Internet-based information displays. The results of the study confirm that jurisdictions have a high level of interest in obtaining arterial traffic condition information for both arterial management and public information purposes. However, existing sensor coverage and equipment capabilities, as well as the manner in which data are (or are not) captured, require that much work be done before existing data sources can supply traffic data to Internet-based display systems. The study results provide some basic guidelines agencies can follow to obtain traffic information if no existing data sources are available, along with recommendations for presenting that arterial traffic data to the public.


Publication Date: 
Sunday, April 1, 2001
Publication Number: 
WA-RD 501.1
Last modified: 
10/12/2016 - 15:42
Jennifer Nee, Mark E. Hallenbeck.
Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC)
Number of Pages: 
Arterial highways, Information display systems, Information dissemination, Internet, Interviewing, Literature reviews, Monitoring, Traffic control, Traffic data, Traffic flow, Traffic speed, Traffic surveillance.