Driver response to variable message sign information in London

Chatterjee, K., Hounsell, N.B., Firmin, P.E. and Bonsall, P.W. (2002) Driver response to variable message sign information in London. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, 10, (2), 149-169. (doi:10.1016/S0968-090X(01)00008-0).


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Variable message signs (VMS) have been installed in London to notify motorists of planned events and current network problems. To guide investment and operational decisions an understanding is required of the impacts of VMS information. This paper presents the results of a study of driver response to VMS information. The study employed questionnaires to investigate the effect of different messages on route choice. A statistical analysis of stated intention questionnaire data enabled logistic regression models to be developed relating the probability of route diversion to driver, journey and message characteristics. The resultant models indicate that the location of the incident and the message content are important factors influencing the probability of diversion. A survey of drivers' actual responses to a message activation showed that only one third of drivers saw the information presented to them and few of these drivers diverted, although many found the information useful. Only one-fifth of the number of drivers diverted compared to that expected from the results of the stated intention questionnaire. It is thought that the low response rate achieved for the stated intention survey will have exaggerated drivers' responsiveness to VMS messages. Interestingly, survey data for another UK city with a newly installed VMS system showed that the number of drivers diverting due to VMS information was very similar to that expected from the results of the stated intention questionnaire. It is suggested that the use of London's VMS signs to display warnings of disruptions expected on future dates may be reducing their effectiveness as a channel for more urgent warnings

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1016/S0968-090X(01)00008-0
ISSNs: 0968-090X (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: variable message sign, traffic information, incident, driver response, diversion
Subjects: T Technology > TE Highway engineering. Roads and pavements
H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Civil Engineering and the Environment
ePrint ID: 39383
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
April 2002Published
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2006
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:09

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