Travellers Response to Uncertainty: the Particular Case of Driver's Response to Imprecisely Known Tolls and Charges



Travellers Response to Uncertainty: the Particular Case of Driver's Response to Imprecisely Known Tolls and Charges

Authors

BONSALL P and CHO H-J, University of Leeds, UK

Description

The paper builds and expands an aspect of the paper by Bonsall et al. (Experiments to Determine Driver Response to Different, Forms of Road Pricing) which attracted considerable interest at the 1998 ETCPTRC conference.

Abstract

The paper builds and expands an aspect of the paper by Bonsall et al. (Experiments to Determine Driver Response to Different, Forms of Road Pricing) which attracted considerable interest at the 1998 ETCPTRC conference.

The main sources of data for this analysis were questionnaire surveys conducted in 1997 and 1998 among city centre car park users. The questionnaires sought respondentsÕ attitudes to road charges and posed stated preference questions to investigate how route choice might be influenced by different levels of charge and by the degree of certainty with which the charge was known.

The analysis of the respondentsÕ route choices showed a strong aversion to charges whose precise value is not known in advance but, contrary to expectation, we noted that the strength of this aversion was reduced when the degree of uncertainty was at its maximum. This latter result reflected earlier findings which had suggested that, despite expressing a particular dislike for charges whose magnitude was not known in advance, driversÕ route choices indicated a stronger aversion to charges which were precisely known.

The effect was explored via segmented tabulation and modelling and was found to vary with the respondentsÕ income and gender. Possible explanations of the effect, which is clearly inconsistent with Expected Utility Theory, are explored and discussed.

Although some explanations is found in the tenets of Khaneman and TverskyÕs Prospect Theory, it is concluded that the most satisfactory explanation is a tendency, particularly, among male drivers and those with a relatively low income, to begin gambling when faced with a series of uncertain outcomes.

A final discussion explores the implications of these results, and of our conclusion on their explanation, for the design of questionnaires and for the prediction of driver response to imprecisely known road charges and other uncertain phenomena such as uncertain travel times.

Publisher

Association for European Transport