Bayesian Network-Based Formulation and Analysis for Toll Road Utilization Supported by Traffic Information Provision

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bayesian network, nested logit model, toll road, traffic information provision

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Congestion pricing has been proposed and investigated as an effective means of optimizing traffic assignment, alleviating congestion, and enhancing traffic operation efficiencies. Meanwhile, advanced traffic information dissemination systems, such as Advanced Traveler Information System (ATIS), have been developed and deployed to provide real-time, accurate, and complete network-wide traffic information to facilitate travelers' trip plans and routing selections. Recent advances in ATIS technologies, especially telecommunication technology, allow dynamic, personalized, and multimodal traffic information to be disseminated and impact travelers' choices of departure times, alternative routes, and travel modes in the context of congestion pricing. However, few studies were conducted to determine the impact of traffic information dissemination on toll road utilizations. In this study, the effects of the provisions of traffic information on toll road usage are investigated and analyzed based on a stated preference survey conducted in Texas. A Bayesian Network (BN)-based approach is developed to discover travelers' opinions and preferences for toll road utilization supported by network-wide traffic information provisions. The probabilistic interdependencies among various attributes, including routing choice, departure time, traffic information dissemination mode, content, coverage, commuter demographic information, and travel patterns, are identified and their impacts on toll road usage are quantified. The results indicate that the BN model performs reasonably well in travelers' preference classifications for toll road utilization and knowledge extraction. The BN Most Probable Explanation (MPE) measurement, probability inference and variable influence analysis results illustrate travelers using highway advisory radio and internet as their primary mode of receiving traffic information are more likely to comply with routing recommendations and use toll roads. Traffic information regarding congested roads, road hazard warnings, and accident locations is of great interest to travelers, who tend to acquire such information and use toll roads more frequently. Travel time formation for home-based trips can considerably enhance travelers' preferences for toll road usage. Female travelers tend to seek traffic information and utilize toll roads more frequently. As expected, the information provided at both pre-trip and en-route stages can positively influence travelers' preferences for toll road usage. The proposed methodology and research findings advance our previous study and provide insight into travelers' behavioral tendencies concerning toll road utilization in support of traffic information dissemination.

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Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, v. 60, p. 339-359