Travellers' Choice of Information Sources
A F H Pathan, P Bonsall, G de Jong, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, UK
This paper addresses the significance of traveller information sources including mono-modal and multimodal websites for travel decisions.
This paper addresses the significance of traveller information sources including mono-modal and multimodal websites for travel decisions. The research follows a decision paradigm developed earlier, involving an information acquisition process for travel choices, and identifies the abstract characteristics of new information sources that deserve further investigation (e.g. by incorporating these in models and studying their significance in model estimation). A Stated Preference experiment is developed and the utility functions are formulated by expanding the travellers? choice set to include different combinations of sources of information. In order to study the underlying choice mechanisms, the resulting variables are examined in models based on different behavioural strategies, including utility maximisation and minimising the regret associated with the foregone alternatives. This research confirmed that Random Regret Minimisation Theory can fruitfully be used and can provide important insights for behavioural studies. The study also analyses the properties of travel planning websites and establishes a link between travel choices and the content, provenance, design, presence of advertisements, and presentation of information. The results indicate that travellers give particular credence to government-owned sources and put more importance on their own previous experiences than on any other single source of information. Information from multimodal websites is more influential than that on train-only websites. This in turn is more influential than information from friends, while information from coach-only websites is the least influential. A website with less search time, specific information on users? own criteria, and real time information is regarded as most attractive by the travellers.
Association for European Transport