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FAQ: Are the results from Business Analysis Trade Area Drive Time the same as the results from Network Analyst Service Area?

Question

Are the results from Business Analysis Trade Area Drive Time the same as the results from Network Analyst Service Area?

Answer

Yes, the results returned from both the Business Analyst Trade Area Drive Time analysis and the Network Analyst Service Area analysis are the same, assuming that the same inputs are used in the analyses, such as the network dataset, facilities, impedance, restrictions, and so forth.

Polygon outputs using the same facilities from the two analyses may appear slightly different from one another, but the outputs retain the same general shape.

However, a common way for inputs to differ is the analysis settings. For example, the option to choose which restrictions to use is available for Network Analyst Service Areas, and is not available for Business Analyst Trade Area Drive Time. In Business Analyst Trade Area Drive Time, using the default restrictions for Travel Mode in the Business Analyst Preferences menu performs the same function. The restrictions for each travel mode are configured in the Business Analyst Preference > Drive Time tab.

Although the functions are the same, using different polygon generation algorithms results in different polygons that appear in the same general shape.

Note:
To compare the differences in the results of two analyses, the most accurate method is to generate lines as outputs.

The polygon generation algorithms referred to by Network Analyst use different terms than that of Business Analyst. The following is a list of some common terms used in the polygon generation algorithms. The list compares the differences between the terms in both Business Analyst and Network Analyst:

 
Business Analyst TermNetwork Analyst Term
Measure UnitsImpedance/Cost
Donut = TrueRing polygon
Donut = FalseDisk polygon
Remove Overlap = TrueNon-overlapping polygons
Remove Overlap = FalseOverlapping polygons
Standard Drive TimesUsing Hierarchy and Generalized Polygons
(no Service Area Optimization)*
Detailed Drive TimesNo Hierarchy and Detailed Polygons
Use SMDT (Street Map algorithm)Generalized Polygons
(with Service Area Optimization)*
Display traversed streets as a new layerGenerate Lines
Note:
*Service Area Optimization (SAO) is a setting for the Network Dataset. The Business Analyst Routing_ND option has SAO activated by default. Users are unable to generate Generalized Polygons without the SAO in Network Analyst beginning with ArcMap 10.3.1  using the BA Routing_ND.

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