Edited by André de Palma, Robin Lindsey, Emile Quinet and Roger Vickerman
Chapter 24: The Economics of Information in Transport
Piet Rietveld INTRODUCTION Economic analyses of travel behavior are usually based on the assumption that travelers are well-informed about the options they have. In reality the situation may be rather different. Travelers may not know the complete set of alternatives available to them. Another possibility is that travelers are not well-informed about particular features of travel alternatives. Much of the literature focuses on uncertainty on travel times (Chorus, 2007). One possibility is that travelers have biased information on travel times of some alternatives. Another possibility is that the realizations of travel times with transport alternatives are variable due to factors such as incidents or variations in weather conditions. In that case, travelers do not know beforehand what will be the actual travel times of the choices they are considering. The various cases of incomplete information can be shown to have potentially important implications for the distinct domains of travel behavior such as whether or not to make a trip, modal choice, the timing of a trip or the choice of the route. Lack of information about choice alternatives naturally affects choice probabilities as does biased information about travel times. An example of a systematic gap between perceived and actual travel times is provided by Exel and Rietveld (2009b) who find for a large sample of car travelers that perceptions of public transport travel time exceed objective values by on average 40–50 percent. Analysis of modal choice on the basis of actual behavior (revealed preference) under the assumption that perceived...
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