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The role of information in decision-making with regard to travel

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1 Author(s)
Lyons, G. ; Centre for Transp. & Soc., Univ. of the West of England, Bristol

The decision-making of individuals lies at the heart of individual and collective travel behaviour and gives rise to the patterns of mobility that place their demands upon our transport systems. This paper aims to examine the role of information in decision-making with regard to travel, alongside considering current developments in the provision of travel information in the information age, and makes a number of observations. The simple presumption that individuals wish to have or need information to assist them in their decision making is misplaced. Psychological factors such as habit and satisfying behaviour can obviate the need for information. Inertia and mental effort can inhibit actions to review the relative merits of alternative travel choices. The need, and hence demand, for information is much more limited. In addition, even when information is sought, it may be for confirmatory reasons rather than for reasons of comparison. The provision of information has advanced substantially in the last 10 years, boosted notably by advances in ICT, and specifically the mainstreaming of Internet and mobile telephony. Indications of high usage levels of some services would suggest that while information services are not in high demand for a large proportion of journeys, this should not be misconstrued as an absolute indication of low demand. There is a significant minority of journeys for which information can prove highly useful to the individual. However, the extent to which usefulness to the individual equates to a change in behaviour is not clear, although it seems that substantial behaviour change (certainly in terms of mode choice) is unlikely

Published in:

Intelligent Transport Systems, IEE Proceedings  (Volume:153 ,  Issue: 3 )