Drive-time areas


You can generate drive-time areas that use actual street networks and approximate driving times. Equal competition market areas don't adjust for the way people actually travel. Equal competition market areas are based on as-the-crow-flies distances, while people in the real world have to use roads and streets to get where they want to go. A two-mile trip might take 5 minutes on one road network and 15 on another.

Pizza delivery provides a good example for the use of drive-time polygons. A company may want to limit deliveries to a total of 15 minutes. This means that the delivery limit of each store might be restricted to 6 minutes (6 minutes to the delivery point, 3 minutes at the delivery site, and 6 minutes to return).

Other examples of drive-time areas include the following:

Input prerequisites

To properly run a drive-time trade area, any point location and routing service (.rs) is required.

You can use any routing service (.rs) in your drive-time analysis. You can set this service on the Preferences > Dataset tab > Street Network. Two routing services are provided as part of the Business Analyst installation. These are found at \Business Analyst\US\Data\StreetMapData\. The service will provide more detailed polygons; the service will traverse major highways and interstates and can be used for more regional analysis.

Example output

The image below shows drive-time areas that are created around a starting location represented by the red star. The yellow polygon represents the area around a location that one can reach within 3 minutes. The red represents a 5 minute threshold. The area in the 5 minute threshold in the blue box is a hole in the drive time. Drive times can have holes depending on road segment types, one-way streets, etc.

Drive Times

A variety of settings are controlled through the Preferences > Drive Time tab. For example, you can customize speed limits, change the drive-time algorithm, or alter speed units.

It is possible for a starting location to fall outside its drive-time area. This happens when a point is placed or geocoded to a location within a certain distance from a traversable street segment. The drive-time area will begin at the nearest snapped point along a street segment, thus the point of origin could potentially fall outside the polygon. This is often the case in newer commercial developments without streets or when a point is geocoded to a remote rooftop away from a road.

Three drive-time algorithms are provided as part of the Business Analyst installation:

Learn more about Drive-time Areas.