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Open Access Publications from the University of California

TravInfo Evaluation: Traveler Response Element Willingness to Pay for Traveler Information: Analysis of Wave 2 Broad Area Survey


TravInfo is a Field Operational Test (FOT) sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and California Department of Transportation. It aimed to develop a multi-modal traveler information system for the San Francisco Bay Area, combining public and private sector talents. The Broad Area Study is part of the TravInfo FOT evaluation. This paper addresses issues on the willingness to pay for traveler information. Two waves of telephone surveys of Bay Area households were conducted, one prior to and one after the Field Operational Test. The initial survey was conducted in November 1995, eight months prior to the TravInfo FOT began and the final survey was conducted in November 1998, three months after the FOT was ended. The paper presents the findings of the second wave Broad Area survey regarding the willingness to pay for traveler information. The rationale is that information can help travelers make better decisions that ultimately reduce traffic congestion and pollution. However, the personal benefits of certain types of high quality travel information may motivate individuals to pay for information. This study analyzes the preferences of automobile and transit travelers' willingness to pay for a high quality advanced traveler information service. The most desirable information content options were constant updates, alternate route information, in-car computer information, expected delay and comparing route times. The results also indicate that a significant population of "information seeking" travelers is willing to pay for specific information content. As expected, there are individual differences in preferences for information content. Future commercialization efforts may focus on experimenting with various types of information content and conducting demonstration projects that charge for information. Keywords: Traveler behavior, Advanced Traveler Information Systems, survey research, modeling, California

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