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Using Behavioral Economics to Better Understand Managed Lane Choice

Project Information

Project Status: 
Active
Start Date: 
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
End Date: 
Sunday, March 28, 2021
FHWA Program: 
Exploratory Advanced Research
FHWA Subprogram: 
Planning, Environment, and Realty
FHWA Topics: 
Managed Lanes; Behavioral Economics; Lane Choice
TRB Subject Area: 
Data and Information Technology, Planning and Forecasting, Policy

Contact Information

First Name: 
Bing
Last Name: 
Yu
Telephone: 
(202) 366-6021
Email Address: 
Team: 
Office of Highway Policy Information
Office:
Office of Policy and Governmental Affairs
Office Code: 
HPPI-1

Project Details

Project Description: 

This research uses behavioral economics (BE) based experiments to improve models used to predict travelers' use of priced managed lanes (MLs). Past models have assumed all travelers choose between MLs and general purpose lanes (GPLs) each trip. However, data from real world MLs indicate that only a small percentage of travelers are consciously making this choice each trip. Travelers will be recruited who currently use freeways with MLs and use their past GPL and ML usage to categorize them as travelers who automatically choose a lane versus those who consciously make this decision on a per-trip basis. Participants will complete measures of several psychological traits that will be linked to their travel behavior. Laboratory-based BE experiments will be used to further understand this propensity to make automatic versus conscious decisions when choosing MLs, and investigate whether that behavior can be changed/nudged. A final phase consisting of field trials will be used to examine whether results from the BE experiments generalize to the real world and what impact additional incentives or travel information communication have on travelers' lane choice. How the new model compares to traditional estimates of ML use will be examined.