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Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Civil Engineering

Degree Type

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.


First Advisor

Song Gao