Commuters receiving reliability information were on-time 6 percent more frequently than commuters without reliability information
Trip simulation experiment proves the provision of traveler information results in improved on-time performance and lower generalized travel disutility.
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San Jose
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United States

Effectiveness of Different Approaches to Disseminating Traveler Information on Travel Time Reliability

Summary Information

A research project by the second Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP2) used a trip simulation approach to assess the value that participants placed on traveler information and to determine whether having reliable information helped speed the transition from an unfamiliar commuter to an experienced commuter. The experiment was conducted in five cities (Dallas, Denver, Hartford, Miami and San Jose) over a period of 4 months and acquired information from 80 participants. The participants were brought into a survey room and were presented with a scenario that involved them commuting in an unfamiliar city with a constrained arrival time (with penalties for both late and early arrival) for two work weeks (10 commutes).

The participants had access to one of three additive levels of travel time information for their planned route and optional route deviations:
    1. real-time advisory messages only,
    2. real-time advisories plus real-time travel time information, or
    3. real-time advisories plus both real-time and reliability (historical travel time range) information.

    A moderator read aloud the contextual setup text presented in the experiment and informed participants that different individuals would have access to differing levels of traveler information. Participants then used the experiment information to make commute decisions at their own pace to complete commutes by maneuvering in an Excel-based interface using dedicated laptops. The participants selected from among three departure time options (7:45 a.m., 8:00 a.m., and 8:15 a.m.) and two potential alternate route options to arrive at their destination on time. If not on time, participants incurred a $25.00 late-fee or were forced to pay an early arrival parking cost. All participants received the real-time advisory messages (from simulated DMSs deployed along the simulated route) while a subset of the participants could actively acquire the higher levels of real-time and reliability information by pressing an interface button.

    Specific questions regarding levels of trip stress and on-time arrival confidence were completed at each waypoint and at the beginning and end of each trip, as relevant. Participants also completed a post-experiment survey that asked them to rate the usefulness of traveler information at the beginning and toward the end of the experiment.

    • Participants indicated willingness to pay for traveler information, on-time arrival confidence level, trip stress level, satisfaction level with trip outcome, and traveler information usefulness for each of the 10 completed trips.
    • Reliability Information Reduced Pre-Trip and En-Route Trip Stress for Unfamiliar Trips.
    • Experimental participants who received reliability information were on time more frequently (85 percent versus 79 percent) and had lower total late and early arrival penalties associated with the simulated trip ($38.61 versus $47.42 and $55.55 in the two control groups).

    Effectiveness of Different Approaches to Disseminating Traveler Information on Travel Time Reliability

    Effectiveness of Different Approaches to Disseminating Traveler Information on Travel Time Reliability
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    Transportation Research Board of the National Academies

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