A quantitative analysis of data from an in vitro assay presented allows for simultaneous study of cell migration within as well as cell traction on tissue equivalents (collagen gels seeded with tissue cells to serve as model tissues). Using our anisotropic biphasic theory for modeling tissue equivalents, the ability of the model to simulate the data was validated by accurately predicting the alignment of fibroblasts and collagen fibrils in the compacting collagen gels and the effects of gel aspect ratio on gel compaction. The effects of migration and adhesion modulating factors (platelet-derived growth factor-BB and an anti-β1 integrin antibody), as well as mechanical stress in the collagen network (attached vs. floating gels), on cell migration and traction during compaction were investigated. In all cases, cell migration was negatively correlated with cell traction. The relevance of the results to wound contraction is discussed.