Experimental studies for traffic incident management
PI: D. Brownstone, UC Irvine; Co-PI: Michael McBride, UC Irvine
Abstract: Traffic incidents and other unexpected disruptions on roadways lead to extensive delays that diminish the quality of life for those that live and/or work in major cities nationwide. The effective management of these incidents is hindered by an incomplete understanding about how drivers respond to information provided by network operators. We propose using economic experiments involving human subjects and a networked, realistic driving simulation to directly study driver behavior in response to information dissemination and pricing schemes designed to manage congestion in traffic networks. Specifically, our study will focus on two mechanisms of management: the use of variable message systems (VMS) and the use of roadway pricing to induce diversion to alternate routes. Our pilot study demonstrates the ability of our platform to elicit reasonable driving behavior from subjects and will guide the implementation and refinement of our full experiment. Messaging scheme improvements for use with extant VMS infrastructure could provide a low-cost tool for general incident management, while insights into messaging/pricing synergies could provide new strategies for the management of tolled facilities.
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