Do people use the shortest path? An empirical test of Wardrop’s first principle.

Example of Route Detecting and Comparison of Alternative Paths
Example of Route Detecting and Comparison of Alternative Paths

Working paper:

Most recent route choice models, following either the random utility maximization or rule-based paradigm, require explicit enumeration of feasible routes. The quality of model estimation and prediction is sensitive to the appropriateness of the consideration set. However, few empirical studies of revealed route characteristics have been reported in the literature. This study evaluates widely applied shortest path assumption by evaluating morning commute routes followed by residents of the Minneapolis – St. Paul metropolitan area. Accurate GPS and GIS data were employed to reveal routes people used over an eight to thirteen week period. Most people do not choose the shortest path. Using three weeks of that data, we find that current route choice set generation algorithms do not reveal the majority of paths that individuals took. Findings from this study may provide guidance for future efforts in building better route choice models.

JEL-Code: R41, R48, D63

Keywords: Transportation planning, route choice, travel behavior, link performance

Linklist: August 15, 2011

John Whitehead comments on Stillwater B/C AnalysisEnvironmental Economics: I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, I’m ready for some benefit-cost analysis “Using their average willingness to pay estimate for eleven study rivers and inflating to 2011 dollars gives a wild and scenic river value of $19 per user/nonuser. If 1 million people hold these values and the new bridge reduces them by 50% then the increased cost is about $100 million after 12 years and $150 million after 19 years, pushing the breakeven point out to 14 and 24 years.”

Michael Wilson now blogs at Monkey Business. In his first post: Rehabilitating “Monkey”: “So I suggest that we rehabilitate the word “monkey” as a perfectly good word to use in describing chimpanzees and all the other apes, including us. Apes are just one particular branch of the monkey family tree. When I discussed this in class this spring, one of my students complained that officially classifying apes as monkeys would rob him of the pleasure of correcting strangers at the zoo when they go around calling gorillas and orangutans “monkeys.” To me, though, this seems like a happy case in which ordinary language fits perfectly well with good biology.”

CNET writes about how Freedom of Speech is reduced to ensure Freedom of Movement: S.F. subway muzzles cell service during protest: “The operators of the Bay Area Rapid Transit subway system temporarily shut down cell service last night in four downtown San Francisco stations to interfere with a protest over a shooting by a BART police officer, a spokesman for the system said today.”