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# Kendall-Theil Robust Line (KTRLine--version 1.0)-A Visual Basic Program for Calculating and Graphing Robust Nonparametric Estimates of Linear-Regression Coefficients Between Two Continuous Variables

January 20, 2007

The Kendall-Theil Robust Line software (KTRLine-version 1.0) is a Visual Basic program that may be used with the Microsoft Windows operating system to calculate parameters for robust, nonparametric estimates of linear-regression coefficients between two continuous variables. The KTRLine software was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, for use in stochastic data modeling with local, regional, and national hydrologic data sets to develop planning-level estimates of potential effects of highway runoff on the quality of receiving waters. The Kendall-Theil robust line was selected because this robust nonparametric method is resistant to the effects of outliers and nonnormality in residuals that commonly characterize hydrologic data sets. The slope of the line is calculated as the median of all possible pairwise slopes between points. The intercept is calculated so that the line will run through the median of input data. A single-line model or a multisegment model may be specified.

The program was developed to provide regression equations with an error component for stochastic data generation because nonparametric multisegment regression tools are not available with the software that is commonly used to develop regression models. The Kendall-Theil robust line is a median line and, therefore, may underestimate total mass, volume, or loads unless the error component or a bias correction factor is incorporated into the estimate. Regression statistics such as the median error, the median absolute deviation, the prediction error sum of squares, the root mean square error, the confidence interval for the slope, and the bias correction factor for median estimates are calculated by use of nonparametric methods. These statistics, however, may be used to formulate estimates of mass, volume, or total loads.

The program is used to read a two- or three-column tab-delimited input file with variable names in the first row and data in subsequent rows. The user may choose the columns that contain the independent (X) and dependent (Y) variable. A third column, if present, may contain metadata such as the sample-collection location and date. The program screens the input files and plots the data. The KTRLine software is a graphical tool that facilitates development of regression models by use of graphs of the regression line with data, the regression residuals (with X or Y), and percentile plots of the cumulative frequency of the X variable, Y variable, and the regression residuals. The user may individually transform the independent and dependent variables to reduce heteroscedasticity and to linearize data. The program plots the data and the regression line. The program also prints model specifications and regression statistics to the screen. The user may save and print the regression results. The program can accept data sets that contain up to about 15,000 XY data points, but because the program must sort the array of all pairwise slopes, the program may be perceptibly slow with data sets that contain more than about 1,000 points.