Monthly Congestion Reports

Use this template to create a monthly report that describes the performance of a roadway over the previous 12 months.

Overview

  1. Click to download the PowerPoint template to create a monthly report that describes the performance of a roadway over the previous 12 months.
  2. Download Agency Use Case examples below to see how other agencies have used these templates or have created similar reports using content from RITIS.
  3. Scroll down to learn how to create this report or click on the 'How To Create Report' in the navigational menu.

Tools Used In This Report (click on the links for a brief video tutorial on using a tool)

Design Recommendations To Keep In Mind

We've strived to make the Guides simple and easy to understand, but if you have any questions or need help, please contact us at support@ritis.org. To start off, we think these abbreviated Lessons Learned from FHWA's Performance Reporting Prototype Technical Report are very instructive and important to keep in mind:

  • Tailor report content and format to engage and inform your audience

    • Keep reports for the general public engaging and simple
    • Reserve greater complexity for professional transportation audience
    • Consider how the audience experiences transportation - the general public typically doesn't care about agency business process silos
  • Relevant, easy-to-understand graphics are likely to be shared

    • ‟Single issue, single page” graphics-heavy infographics are a valuable tool to draw in a larger audience
  • Snapshots are not enough

    • Make sure to include trends and contextual information
    • Link to actions being taken by the organization
  • Don't empasize appearance over effectiveness

    • Information should be conveyed clearly and concisely
    • Simplicity over embellishment is usually best
  • Tell a story so the data comes alive

    The story must be delivered at the right technical level for the audience and targeted on an area of interest

How to Create the Report

Click on each numbered box below to learn how to create the content in each section and how we used RITIS to generate charts and produce performance data.

1

How to make the cover pages

  1. Select cover page

    1. In Microsoft PowerPoint open the front cover template.
    2. Gather your agency’s logo and some applicable background images to choose from.
      Lightbulb icon indicating that you can click to learn a little more

      Tip

      Using high-resolution images will give your report a more professional look. If desired, choose some images that you can use other places in your report, like the back cover, as a supplement to maps, etc.

    3. Another option is to add a background map image with highlights from Google Earth Pro (described below).
  2. Create background map image

    1. In Google Earth Pro, select the roadway you’re analyzing, then click Map Options, Options.
      Lightbulb icon indicating that you can click to learn a little more

      Tip

      This example uses a desaturated color base map that greatly tones down the map color saturation. This allows for better highlighting of the study roadway, making it pop.

    2. Click Resolution and select Maximum.
    3. Save the image as a JPEG, then import into PowerPoint.
  3. Overlay a road highlight

    1. In PowerPoint, select “Curved Line” from the shape menu.
    2. Left-click along the path of the roadway to draw the line. Double-click to end the curve. Right-click the finished line to bring up an edit menu to add or move curve points.
    3. Under Shape Effects, apply Glow. Using the Format Shape dialog, change the color to the same color as the line. Adjust the size and transparency bars to produce the effect based on your personal preferences.
  4. Assemble your cover page

    Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
    1. Copy and paste your image and agency logo into the cover page template.
    2. Right-click on the image and select “Send to Back” from the drop-down menu so the image lays behind the cover graphics and text.
    3. If there’s not enough contrast with the background image, double-click your agency’s logo and select Color from the Adjust ribbon to select a more suitable color.
    4. Edit the Project Name / Description, date and report type placeholders.
    5. You can change the colors of the bottom graphic by double-clicking it and selecting “Color” from the “Picture Format” ribbon.
  5. Create a back cover

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    1. For the back cover, use the back cover template to add your agency’s logo, a pertinent photo and contact info.
2

How to make the overview page (performance summary)

  1. Select the Overview page

    1. In Microsoft PowerPoint open the Overview page template.
  2. Create an orientation map image

    Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
    1. In PDA Suite, open the Bottleneck Ranking tool and enter your query information. Before running the query, perform a screen capture of the map (you will use the map later on to build a basic location map).
  3. Run Performance Summaries

    Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
    1. Open Performance Summaries and use the query screen to define the parameters of your search:
      • Select roads - choose your state, then in the search bar type the name of your road.
      • Select time periods - choose the day(s), month(s) or year you wish to analyze, then click on the green button. Repeat the process for each analysis time period.
      • Select time ranges - select a time range to analyze within each time period by moving the sliders. Add the time period by clicking on the green button. Repeat the process for each analysis time range.
      • Select data sources - choose your agency’s data source or use the NPMRDS datasets.
      • Submit - once you’re satisfied with your query inputs, click the SUBMIT button.
  4. Your results will look something like this

    Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
    1. Use the Performance Summaries results to report out your performance metrics. In this example, we chose the average weekday travel time for the AM and PM peak periods of the reporting month, the previous month, and the previous year.
    2. Then select the Weekday average travel time (June 2019, from 6AM and 9AM) of 5.07 minutes, and rounded to 5.1 min.
  5. Create a table to summarize your results

    1. Using the travel time results for AM and PM Peak Periods, create an offline table that compares your target month/year (June 2020) to previous months (May 2020 and June 2019).
    2. Use symbols to denote increases, decreases or no changes in travel time, and add a percent change value, using this simple formula.
3

How to make the overview page (top bottleneck location)

  1. Run the query shown in step 2a - your results will look something like this

    Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
    1. In the results table on top, select the top-ranked bottleneck. Under “Bottleneck Profile” note the values shown for Average Max Length, Average daily duration and Total duration.
    2. Take screen capture of bottleneck location map.
    3. Finally, take a screen capture of the Bottleneck Timeline.
    4. Use these elements to build a “Top Bottleneck Location” section of the overview page.
      Lightbulb icon indicating that you can click to learn a little more

      Tip

      Add annotations to the map, provide location detail and summarize the profile results, etc. to give more meaning and usability to your overview page. You can also select other visualization – like Time Spiral – that may be better suited to your needs. Simply click on the “Add Visualization” button at the top right corner, then click on one or more visualizations to view.

4

How to make the weekly travel time profiles page

  1. Open the weekly travel time page

    1. In Microsoft PowerPoint open the weekly travel time page template.
    2. Gather some images, aerial maps of your roadway or corridor or other visual content.
  2. Run Performance Summaries

    Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
    1. Open the Performance Charts tool and use the query screen to define the parameters of your search:
      • Select roads - choose your state, then in the search bar type the name of your road.
        Lightbulb icon indicating that you can click to learn a little more

        Tip

        Saving the roads you’ve chosen in the Select Roads step will save you time and effort – once you’ve selected all your roads, simply click on the “Save as Segment Set” button and then choose a name. Then the next time you want to use this set, choose the “Saved” tab under Select Roads and click on your desired segment set.

      • Select time periods - choose the day(s), month(s) or year you wish to analyze, then choose time periods for the range as well as days of the week. Add the time period by clicking on the green button. Repeat the process for each analysis time period.
      • Select data sources - choose your agency’s data source or use the NPMRDS datasets.
      • Select granularity - choose the fineness of the data (1 minute to 1 hour) or choose a specific time range (Day of week). Add another time range by clicking on the green button, then repeat the process.
      • Submit - once you’re satisfied with your query inputs, click the SUBMIT button.
  3. Your results will look something like this

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    1. The results page has two parts: a Control Panel on the left and the charted results on the right.
    2. Use the Control Panel to change the chart type, axes look and information, select which metric to display, and adjust the color and size of the chart data.
    3. Shown below are steps you can use to make the chart easier to read and more informative for your report.
  4. Modify the chart for easier reading & use

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    1. In the upper right corner of the charts, drag the slide from night mode to day mode.
    2. Click the Metric dropdown list and select Travel time (minutes).
      Lightbulb icon indicating that you can click to learn a little more

      Tip

      You can choose from 11 different metrics and 4 different chart types to present your results. Choose the ones best suited to your needs and use these charts directly or create summary results and use our custom graphics to help tell your story.

    3. Under Chart data, deselect the checkboxes for the 5th/95th percentile readings and uncheck the June 2019 box. Finally, click on the Color Palette boxes next to the dates, and choose colors to help the lines stand out.
  5. Save chart using the "customize image export" tool

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    1. Click in the “Save as” icon, then click on the “Image” radio button and finally click the “Customize image export…” link.
    2. Change the image size to improve legibility at the scale you will be utilizing . In our example, we changed image size to a width of 750 and a height of 500.
    3. Uncheck the legend box to create your own.
    4. Then click “Save image”.
    5. Finally, open your PowerPoint template and insert the image as a Picture.
  6. Customize the charts with labels & notations

    Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
    Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
    1. Add a simple header.
    2. Include call-outs of important performance metric comparisons on the chart.
    3. Add a data legend.
      Lightbulb icon indicating that you can click to learn a little more

      Tip

      When choosing the fill and line colors for the legend squares, use the eyedropper tool to sample the colors from the image of the graph.

    4. To reduce the number of axis titles, you can cover the ones you want to hide with solid white rectangles (see red outline).
    5. Apply the same customizations to the other charts – the Eastbound chart that compares June 2020 to May 2020, and the EB/WB charts that compare June 2020 to June 2019. Use callouts to bring attention to important details or changes.
    6. Add some summary discussion about the travel time comparisons and what they mean. You can also add an aerial view of the corridor, or other images that help add value to the data.
5

How to make the COVID-19 travel impacts page

  1. Open the COVID-19 travel impacts page

    1. In Microsoft PowerPoint open the COVID-19 travel impacts page template.
  2. Make the travel time column charts

    Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
    1. Open Performance Summaries and use the query screen to define the parameters of your search:
      • Select roads - choose your state, then in the search bar type the name of your road.
      • Select time periods - choose the day(s), month(s) or year you wish to analyze, then click on the green button. Repeat the process for each analysis time period.
      • Note that you will pull performance summaries for 13 months. You will have to do this in two batches - June 2019 to December 2019; and January 2020 to June 2020. To get results for each month, click on the radio button to “Create a time period for each month within this range”.
      • Select time ranges - select a time range to analyze within each time period by moving the sliders. Add the time period by clicking on the green button. Repeat the process for each analysis time range.
      • Select data sources - choose your agency’s data source or use the NPMRDS datasets.
      • Submit - once you’re satisfied with your query inputs, click the SUBMIT button.
  3. Your results will look something like this

    Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
    1. Use the Performance Summaries results to report out your performance metrics.
    2. In this example, we created an Excel spreadsheet for the 13-month period, then selected the Travel Time and Planning Time metrics for each peak period and each direction of travel. We then estimated a free-flow travel time (which in this case is the speed limit travel time).
    3. Manually enter the values from the Performance Summaries table into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
  4. Create a combination chart

    Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
    Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
    1. In the Excel spreadsheet, create a combination chart, with the free flow travel time shown as a line. Show planning time and travel time as clustered columns.
    2. The resulting chart will look like the chart below, left *.
    3. Next, label the horizontal axis by month by right clicking on a column and pick “Select Data…”, then edit the horizontal axis labels. Highlight the month range in your Excel workbook, press enter, and then OK.
  5. Label the horizontal axis by month

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    1. Next, label the horizontal axis by month by right clicking on a column and pick “Select Data…”, then edit the horizontal axis labels. Highlight the month range in your Excel workbook, press enter, and then OK.
  6. Name each data series

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    1. Right click on a column and pick “Select Data…”. Edit the Legend Entries (Series) and click on the cell in the Excel worksheet that contains the corresponding category. Repeat for all three series.
  7. Overlap the data columns

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    1. Under Format Data Series, use Series Options to overlap the data columns.
    2. Change the series order if the planning time column obscures the travel time column.
  8. Change color of chart elements as desired

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    1. With Format Data Series selected, click on the line and change color as desired.
  9. Clean up the formatting and title

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    1. Left-click on chart title and press delete (since titles will be manually added to the overall page).
    2. Right-click on the y-axis numbers and select “Format Axis…”
    3. Under Number, change Decimal places to “0.”
    4. Using the Edit Series menu, change Series name to something more descriptive (PT, TT, FF).
  10. How to make the travel time % difference charts

    1. Use Microsoft Excel to create a new spreadsheet based on the previous spreadsheet.
    2. Use the original spreadsheet with travel time and planning time data and create a “Percent Difference” spreadsheet by using this formula:
  11. Clean up the axes and labels

    Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
    Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
    1. Use “Format Axis” to finalize the chart appearance.
    2. Set the bounds of the y-axis to be consistent between your charts, to allow easy comparison.
    3. The final chart will look something like this *
    4. Add some finishing touches, such as a heading, event dividers ( Summer, Normal, COVID-19) start and end point indicators, etc.
    5. Build a complementary chart for the opposite direction / peak period
    6. Include summary text that helps explain the results of the charts.

Your report is now complete!

A cover page with Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
An overview page with Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
A page showing Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
A back cover page with a photo of cars at sunset Magnifying glass indicating that you can click to zoom the previous image
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