Measures of Speeding from a GPS-based Travel Behavior Survey

Recently published


Objective: Lacking information about actual driving speed on most roads in the Minneapolis–St. Paul region, we determine car speeds using observations from a Global Positioning System (GPS)-based travel survey. Speed of travel determines the likelihood and consequences of collisions. We identify the road segments where speeding occurs. This article then analyzes the relationship between link length, traveler characteristics, and speeding using GPS data collected from 152 individuals over a 7-day period as part of the Minneapolis–St. Paul Travel Behavior Inventory.

Methods: To investigate the relationship, we employed an algorithm and process to accurately match the GPS data with geographic information system (GIS) databases. Comparing actual travel speed from GPS data with posted speed limits, we measure where and when speeding occurs and by whom. We posit that link length and demographics shape the decision to speed.

Results: Speeding is widespread under both high speed limits (e.g., 60 mph [97 km/h]) and low speed limits (less than 25 mph [40 km/h]); in contrast, speeding is less common at 30–35 mph (48–56 km/h). The results suggest that driving patterns depend on the road type. We also find that when there are many intersections, the average link speed (and speeding) drops. Long links are conducive to speeding. Younger drivers and more educated drivers also speed more, and speeding occurs more often in the evening.

Conclusions: Road design and link length (or its converse, frequency of intersections) affect the likelihood of speeding. Use of increasingly available GPS data allows more systematic empirical analysis of designs and topologies that are conducive to road safety.