Research Reports

Following advice from traffic advisories

Principal Investigator:

Wende Dewing, Stirling Stackhouse

July 1994

Report no. Mn/DOT 1994-29

Topics: Driver Performance and Behavior

This report presents data using multiple-choice questionnaires to learn how drivers respond to traffic information in the form of advisory messages. Two experiments, comprising 112 participants, were conducted using the same technique and yielding similar results. The traffic information messages presented to participants varied in three respects; quantitativeness of information, imperativeness of advice, and timeliness of information. Two additional factors were examined; the amount of traffic congestion stated to be directly observable on the route and the stated accuracy of messages received in the past.

Results obtained from the questionnaires indicate that the structure of the traffic message did influence the driver behavior. The propensity to depart from the planned route ahead of schedule was greater when respondents had; few exit options remaining, been told traffic levels were high, received accurate traffic information in the past, and had received messages which contained quantitative and/or imperative information.

Traffic controllers with this knowledge of driver behavior could act to further reduce trip times and congestion by using the control tools currently available to them. The major conclusion we can draw from this study is that when possible and appropriate, advisory messages should contain accurate, timely, quantitative and imperative information.

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