In recent years, innovative progress in information and communication technology (ICT) has introduced new sources for traffic data collection and analysis. On-board sensors like GPS-GPRS boxes, generally installed for insurance purposes, communicate information from circulating vehicles to data centers. Geographic location, date and time, vehicles’ speed and direction, are systematically transmitted and stored as Historical Car Data (HCD) from probe vehicles in the traffic stream. These databases provide a good opportunity to analyze the vehicles’ motion both in the temporal and spatial domains. The aim of this study is to pay attention to the reliability of this kind of data gathering. Since instrumented vehicles account for a small percentage of the entire vehicle fleet, it is important to understand if they can be considered as a sample representative of the whole population. The paper presents a comparison of speed data obtained from HCD with the ones recorded by inductive-loop detectors and microwave radar sensors; the performed analysis required the definition of specific methodologies and procedures. The obtained results show a high correspondence between the two sets of data. Therefore, HCD can be proposed for the detailed monitoring of, and studies on, the operating conditions of mobility along road networks.
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