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Master of Science in Civil Engineering (M.S.C.E.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
driving simulator, route choice behavior, real-time information
This research studies travelers' route choice behavior in a driving simulator with real-time information en-route. We investigate whether travelers plan strategically for real-time information en-route or simply select a fixed path from origin to destination at the beginning of a trip, and whether network complexity and a parallel driving task affect subjects' strategic thinking ability. In this study, strategic thinking refers to a traveler's route choice decision taking into account future diversion possibilities downstream enabled by information at the diversion node. All of the subjects in this study participated in driving-simulator-based tests while half of the subjects participated in additional PC-based tests. Three types of maps were used. The first type required a one-time choice at the beginning of a trip to test the traveler's risk attitude. The other two types offered route choices both at the beginning of and during a trip to test the traveler's strategic thinking. The study shows that a significant portion of route choice decisions are strategic in a realistic driving simulator environment. Furthermore, different network complexities impose different cognitive demands on a subject and affect his/her strategic thinking ability. A subject tends to be more strategic in a simple network. Lastly, a parallel driving task does not significantly affect a subject's strategic thinking ability. This seemingly counterintuitive conclusion might be caused by the simplicity of the tested network.