Journal of Transportation Management


This article is about FMCSA data and its analysis. The article responds to the two-part question: How does an Item Response Theory (IRT) model work differently . . . or better than any other model? The response to the first part is a careful, completely non-technical exposition of the fundamentals for IRT models. It differentiates IRT models from other models by providing the rationale underlying IRT modeling and by using graphs to illustrate two key properties for data items. The response to the second part of the question about superiority of an IRT model is, “it depends.” For FMCSA data, serious challenges arise from complexity of the data and from heterogeneity of the carrier industry. Questions are posed that will need to be addressed to determine the success of the actual model developed and of the scoring system.