Eran Ben-Elia

Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

February 15, 2008, 11:15, Room GC B3 424 (click here for the map)

Behavioral insights in route-choice models with real time information

Advanced Travel Information Systems (ATIS) are designed to provide real time information enabling drivers to choose efficiently among routes and save travel time. Travel demand modelers have been trying to analyze drivers' response to such systems. Psychological research suggests that route-choice models can be improved by adding realistic behavioral assumptions. However, different generalizations imply deviations in different directions. Specifically, different choices arise when decisions are taken on the basis of information compared to those taken on the basis of personal experience. An experimental study of route choices investigates the combined effects of information and experience on route-choice decisions in a simulated environment whereby the participants can rely on a description of travel time variability and at the same time can rely also on personal experience through feedback. The results show that the effect of information is positive and more evident when participants lack long-term experience on the distributions of travel times. Furthermore, information seems to increase initial risk seeking behavior, reduce initial exploration and contribute to between subject risk-attitudes differences. Based on this data we estimate several advanced discrete choice models using mixed logit specifications with panel data. The model estimation results shows that non-informed participants tend to rely more on recent outcomes and are more sensitive to travel times, less sensitive to travel time variability and show tendency towards risk aversion. In contrast, informed participants are more aware of past sequence of outcomes, are more sensitive to travel time variability and have some inclination towards risk-seeking behavior. These findings have implications for cost-effective ATIS design especially in the conditions characterized by non recurrent congestion. More research is necessary to better understand the behavioral impacts of informed users on the general equilibrium of transport networks especially the effect of driver interaction and joint decision making effects.‏


Eran Ben-Elia (M.Sc) is a Ph.D. candidate in Transportation Science at the Faculty of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. His interests lie in travel behavior modeling and intelligent transport systems.

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