Visualization Evaluation Framework for Traffic Data

The data stream about traffic operations is growing more rapidly than the ability of software systems to effectively convey the information embedded in this data. The data stream has grown as information technology has created cheaper methods to measure, transmit, and record information about the traffic stream. For example, in the Los Angeles Caltrans district, the volume of detector data streaming into the traffic management center has grown by approximately 400% over the past decade. This data is increasingly relied upon to make operational and planning decisions by traffic managers. However, visualizations of traffic information continue to rely heavily on traditional line and bar graphs to display time series or time of day plots of traffic conditions. These two-dimensional plots are generally shown at a single detector station. Thus, these existing visualizations share a common characteristic: they are relatively low density graphics, capable of conveying only a limited geographic and temporal slice of freeway conditions to traffic engineers and planners. This paper develops an evaluation framework for visualizations of traffic data. The framework builds off of the work of Edward Tufte, to create a set of performance measures for traffic data visualizations: effective data density, scope, and context. This framework provides a clearer context for discussions of the merits of various data graphics. This paper then uses this framework to evaluate five traffic data displays and concludes with a discussion of the need for further work on traffic data visualization.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: DVD
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 14p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 89th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers DVD

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01152571
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 10-3378
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2010 11:42AM