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Use Buffer/Drive time analysis

The Buffer/Drive time analysis capability creates areas around input point, line, or polygon features to a specified distance or uses Esri service areas to calculate the area that can be reached within a specified travel time or travel distance of point features along a street network based on a travel mode. The results of the Buffer/Drive time analysis are saved as a layer in the map.

Examples

The Buffer/Drive time analysis can be used in various scenarios, including the following:

  • A local reporter is working on a story about response times to fires in her city. She wants to determine how much of the city is within a four-minute drive time of the city's fire stations. She can use the Buffer/Drive time analysis to determine how far a fire truck can drive within the city in four minutes.
  • A development company is planning to create a mixed-use development in an urban center. The development must be located within a quarter mile of shops, restaurants, or a light rail stop. The company can use the Buffer/Drive time analysis to determine which locations are appropriate for the new development.

Create Buffer/Drive times

To run the Buffer/Drive time analysis, do the following:

  1. From the map tools, click Analysis Analysis.

    The analysis tools appear. Infographics card is selected by default.

  2. From the analysis tools, click Buffer/Drive time Buffer/Drive time.
  3. From the Choose input features drop-down menu, choose the starting point for the buffer or drive time.

    You can select a layer in the map, use your current location, or choose Click to add a point to select a location manually.

    Note:
    Your current location is based on your system settings.

  4. From the Choose analysis type drop-down menu, choose how the area around the input features is measured.

    You can measure according to fixed distance or time.

    • To use a distance-based measurement, select Fixed ring, Walking distance, Rural driving distance, Trucking distance, or Driving distance. Set the unit of measurement using the drop-down menu, and change the distance using the text box or arrow buttons.
    • To use a time-based measurement, select Walking time, Rural driving time, Trucking time, or Driving time. Set the unit of measurement using the drop-down menu, and change the amount of time using the text box or arrow buttons.
  5. Optionally, for Driving time, Trucking time, and Rural driving time, check the Use traffic check box and choose one of the following:
    • Live traffic—Calculate time based on the current traffic conditions. Use the slider to offset live traffic conditions up to four hours from the current time.
    • Traffic based on typical conditions—Set a day of the week and time of day on which to base traffic calculations. When adding time, choose an option from the drop-down list or add a value manually. Use the 12 hour time clock. An invalid entry defaults to 12:00 am.

    Use traffic is not checked by default. The driving speed is based on historical and live traffic data.

  6. Choose a Travel direction option.
    You can calculate time and distance away from the input features or toward them.

    This option appears for all analysis types except Ring buffer.

  7. When you run the analysis, the results are saved as a new layer in the map.
  8. Type a name for the layer in the Result layer name text box.
  9. Click Run analysis.

    The Buffer/drive time analysis is run and the results are saved. The result layer appears in the layer list.

  10. Click the Close button Close to close the Analysis pane and view the map.

Usage notes

You can choose an input point, line, or polygon layer from the Choose analysis type drop-down menu. The drop-down menu includes all layers in the map that are compatible with the Buffer/Drive time analysis.

The following analysis types may be available:

Buffer typeDescription

Ring buffer

Uses a straight-line distance to create a buffer around points.

Driving Time

Models the movement of cars and other similar small automobiles, such as pickup trucks, and finds solutions that optimize travel time. Travel obeys one-way roads, avoids illegal turns, and follows other rules that are specific to cars.

Driving Distance

Models the movement of cars and other similar small automobiles, such as pickup trucks, and finds solutions that optimize travel distance. Travel obeys one-way roads, avoids illegal turns, and follows other rules that are specific to cars.

Trucking Time

Models basic truck travel by preferring designated truck routes and finds solutions that optimize travel time. Routes must obey one-way roads, avoid illegal turns, and so on.

Trucking Distance

Models basic truck travel by preferring designated truck routes and finds solutions that optimize travel distance. Routes must obey one-way roads, avoid illegal turns, and so on.

Walking Time

Follows paths and roads that allow pedestrian traffic and finds solutions that optimize travel time. The default walking speed is set to 5 kilometers per hour.

Walking Distance

Follows paths and roads that allow pedestrian traffic and finds solutions that optimize travel distance.

Rural Driving Time

Models the movement of cars and other similar small automobiles, such as pickup trucks, and finds solutions that optimize travel time. Travel obeys one-way roads, avoids illegal turns, and follows other rules that are specific to cars but does not discourage travel on unpaved roads.

Rural Driving Distance

Models the movement of cars and other similar small automobiles, such as pickup trucks, and finds solutions that optimize travel distance. Travel obeys one-way roads, avoids illegal turns, and follows other rules that are specific to cars but does not discourage travel on unpaved roads.

If you choose a buffer or travel mode based on distance, you can choose meters, kilometers, feet, or miles as the measurement unit.

If you choose a travel mode based on time, you can choose seconds, minutes, or hours as the measurement unit.

Limitations

Travel modes can only be used when the input dataset contains point feaures.