TAC Releases Guidelines for Defining and Measuring Urban Congestion

Vendredi, 19 Janvier, 2018

The Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) has released Guidelines for Defining and Measuring Urban Congestion (2017) in its online Bookstore.

The document is priced at $149 for TAC members and $199 for non-members (order code PTM-DMUC-E) and is available in both print and e-book formats. A primer, Defining and Measuring Congestion, provides an overview of this topic and is available for free on TAC’s website.

The publication assists practitioners and researchers in defining, measuring and monitoring traffic congestion in urban areas. Luay Mustafa, Project Manager, says the guidelines provide information on quantifying traffic congestion for both urban freeway and arterial corridors, and can be applied for motorized roadway transportation, including public transit mixed with other motorized modes of transportation.

The guidelines, based on findings from published literature and results from a survey of Canadian and international municipalities with experience in measuring traffic congestion in urban areas, identify a range of performance metrics to measure and monitor traffic congestion. Twenty-nine (29) common congestion measures were identified and categorized, in order to develop an objective procedure that would assess and compare congestion.

The document provides a correlation matrix to help users choose the appropriate data collection method to measure congestion in different applications. A decision-support tool, data collection techniques and visualization tools are also provided.

Guidelines for Defining and Measuring Urban Congestion was developed with funding provided by Alberta Transportation; British Columbia Transportation and Infrastructure; Ministry of Transportation, Ontario; Ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’Électrification des transports du Québec; Transport Canada; Agence régionale de transport métropolitain; Metrolinx; Regional Municipality of Peel; Halifax Regional Municipality; South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (TransLink) and the cities of Edmonton, Montréal and Toronto.


Traffic congestion has become a major challenge in most urban areas. In recent years, the development of measures to mitigate traffic congestion has become a priority for many road agencies. To this end, identifying congestion characteristics is an essential step in selecting appropriate mitigating measures.