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Travel behavior changes and responses to advanced traveler information in prolonged and large-scale network disruptions: A case study of west LRT line construction in the city of Calgary

Transportation Research Part F Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
DOI: 10.1016/j.trf.2013.08.005
  • West Lrt Line Construction
  • Network Unreliability
  • Pre-Trip And En-Route Information
  • Mode Change
  • Drivers’ Route Diversion Behaviors
  • Design
  • Economics


Abstract The objective of this study was the investigation of travel behavioral effects of the reduction in traffic capacity resulting from the construction of the West LRT (Light Rail Transit) line in the city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Travelers’ responses to real-time information providing traffic updates and advisory detours due to lane/road closures were also examined. The West LRT alignment extends approximately 8.2km from downtown into the city’s southwest. Many road closures took place in the vicinity of the LRT line construction zones, inducing significant delays to traffic. Data on travelers’ behavioral responses and responses to real-time information were obtained by conducting a survey on a sample of users of the main road affected by the construction. The survey also investigated the effects of West LRT line construction on drivers’ daily commutes, including increases in travel times, mode choices, alternate route choices, and selection of sources of information on traffic conditions. A significant change in the selection of transportation mode was caused by West LRT construction. Throughout the construction period, there was a decrease in the percentage of respondents who reported private vehicles as their first choice and an increase in the percentage of respondents who preferred public transit as their first and second choices. Radio was found to be the most preferred source for traffic updates and detour advice, followed by variable message signs (VMS). The findings of the en-route information model showed that driving experience, employment status, travel time and purpose, and desire for pre-trip information had significant effects on traveler’s rerouting decisions after getting en-route information through VMS. The results from this study are of interest for understanding behavioral changes for the purposes of traffic management, mitigation schemes and design of advanced traveler information systems in response to network disruptions.

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