Perception bias in route choice

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Travel time is probably one of the most studied attributes in route choice. Recently, perception of travel time received more attention as several studies have shown its importance in explaining route choice behavior. In particular, travel time estimates by travelers appear to be biased against non-chosen options even if these are faster. In this paper, we study travel time perception and route choice of routes with different degrees of road hierarchy and directness. In the Dutch city of Enschede, respondents were asked to choose a route and provide their estimated travel times for both the preferred and alternative routes. These travel times were then compared with actual travel times. Results from previous studies were confirmed and expanded. The shortest time route was chosen in 41 % of the cases while the perceived shortest time route was chosen by almost 80 % of the respondents. Respondents overestimated travel time in general but overestimated the travel time of non-chosen routes more than the travel time of chosen routes. Perception of travel time depends on road hierarchy and route directness, as more direct routes and routes higher up in the hierarchy were perceived as being relatively fast. In addition, there is evidence that these attributes also influence route choice independently of perceived travel time. Finally, travel time perceptions appear to be most strongly biased against non-chosen options when respondents were familiar with the route or indicated a clear preference for the chosen routes. This result indicates that behavior will be more difficult to change for the regular travelers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1305-1321
Number of pages16
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2014


  • IR-92156
  • METIS-302083


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