Should I stay or should I go? Investigating route switching behavior from revealed preferences data
A large variety of factors influence the route choice decisions of road users, and modelers consider these factors within the perceived utility that road users are assumed to maximize. However, this perceived utility may be different even for the same origin–destination pair and this leads road users to choose different routes for different trips. In this study, we focus on this particular phenomenon of route switching behavior by estimating discrete choice models with the aim of understanding the key factors at its foundation. The estimated route choice models account for route characteristics, socio-economic information, activity based data, inertial mechanism and learning effects, and they are applied to revealed preference data consisting of 677 actual day by day route choices (referred to 77 road users) collected by GPS in Cagliari (Italy). Route switching models were estimated with both fixed and random coefficient models. The model estimation results show that the variables referred to habit and learning have an important relevance on explaining the route switching phenomenon. Specifically, the higher is the travel habit, the less is the propensity of the road users to switch their route. Moreover, the learning effect shows that the accumulation of past experiences has more influence on the choice than the most recent ones.