Information impacts on route choice and learning behavior in a congested network: An experimental approach
Lu, X. , Gao, S. and Ben-Elia, E. (2011) Information impacts on route choice and learning behavior in a congested network: An experimental approach. In: 90th Annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington D.C., USA.
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Every individual traveler makes route choices in an inherently uncertain environment, due to random disruptions to the traffic system such as incidents and bad weather, and random behavior of his/her fellow travelers. The premise underlying the development of Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS) that better-informed travelers make better route choices both at the individual and system levels should not be taken as granted but rigorously tested. This paper studies two types of information, namely en route real-time information on the occurrence of an incident and ex post information on foregone payoffs (FPs), i.e., travel times on non-chosen routes. Data were collected from an interactive experiment, where human subjects made multiple rounds of route choices in a hypothetical network subject to random capacity reductions, and travel times were determined by performance functions of route flows from the previous round. Preliminary results and bootstrap statistical tests are presented. It is indicated that en route real time information increases the network’s travel time saving and reliability under the specific setting of the experiment, yet FP information has the opposite impact. The most efficient information structure in terms of travel time saving is a combination of real-time information and no FP information. Furthermore, the availability of real-time information at downstream nodes encourages participants’ strategic behavior at the origin. Last but not least, FP information seems to increase risk-seeking behavior, and it encourages route switching without real-time information, but suppresses them with real-time information. These results are potentially valuable for policy evaluations regarding further developments of ATIS.
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