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An experimental study of the Online Information Paradox: Does en-route information improve road network performance?

Abstract : This study investigates the empirical presence of a theoretical transportation paradox, defined as the "Online Information Paradox" (OIP). The paradox suggests that, for certain road networks, the provision of online information deteriorate travel conditions for all users of that network relative to the situation where no online information is provided to users. The analytical presence of the paradox was derived for a specific network structure by using two equilibrium models, the first being the Expected User Equilibrium (EUE) solution (no information scenario) and the other being the User Equilibrium with Recourse (UER) solution (with information scenario). An incentivised computerised route choice game was designed using the concepts of experimental economics and administered in a controlled laboratory environment to investigate the physical presence of the paradox. Aggregate statistics of path flows and Total System Travel Costs (TSTC) were used to compare the experimental results with the theoretical findings. A total of 12 groups of 12 participants completed the experiment and the OIP and the occurrence of the OIP being significant was observed in 11 of the 12 cases. Though information increased travel costs for users on average, it reduced the volatility of travel costs experienced in the no information scenario indicating that information can achieve a more reliable system. Further replications of similar experiments and more importantly field based identification of the phenomena will force transport professionals to be aware of the emergence of the paradox. In addition, studies such as this emphasise the need for the adoption of adaptive traffic assignment techniques to appropriately model the acquisition of information on a road network. PLOS ONE |
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Contributor : Laurent Denant-Boemont <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 3:03:17 PM
Last modification on : Monday, January 27, 2020 - 1:16:12 PM

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S 2☯, Kasun Wijayaratna, Vinayak Dixit, Laurent Denant-Boemont, S. Travis Waller. An experimental study of the Online Information Paradox: Does en-route information improve road network performance?. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2017, 12 (9), pp.e0184191. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0184191⟩. ⟨halshs-02439201⟩



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