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Choice of routes in congested traffic networks: Experimental tests of the Braess Paradox

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  • Rapoport, Amnon
  • Kugler, Tamar
  • Dugar, Subhasish
  • Gisches, Eyran J.

Abstract

The Braess Paradox consists of showing that, in equilibrium, adding a new link that connects two routes running between a common origin and common destination may raise the travel cost for each network user. We report the results of two experiments designed to study whether the paradox is behaviorally realized in two simulated traffic networks that differ from each other in their topology. Both experiments include relatively large groups of participants who independently and repeatedly choose travel routes in one of two types of traffic networks, one with the added links and the other without them. Our results reject the hypothesis that the paradox is of marginal value and its force diminishes with experience. Rather, they strongly support the alternative hypothesis that with experience in traversing the networks financially motivated players converge to choosing the equilibrium routes in the network with added capacity despite sustaining a sharp decline in earnings.

Suggested Citation

  • Rapoport, Amnon & Kugler, Tamar & Dugar, Subhasish & Gisches, Eyran J., 2009. "Choice of routes in congested traffic networks: Experimental tests of the Braess Paradox," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 538-571, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:65:y:2009:i:2:p:538-571
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Penchina, Claude M., 1997. "Braess paradox: Maximum penalty in a minimal critical network," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 379-388, September.
    2. Arnott, Richard & de Palma, Andre & Lindsey, Robin, 1990. "Economics of a bottleneck," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 111-130, January.
    3. Pas, Eric I. & Principio, Shari L., 1997. "Braess' paradox: Some new insights," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 265-276, June.
    4. Dafermos, Stella & Nagurney, Anna, 1984. "On some traffic equilibrium theory paradoxes," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 101-110, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Terry E. Daniel & Eyran J. Gisches & Amnon Rapoport, 2009. "Departure Times in Y-Shaped Traffic Networks with Multiple Bottlenecks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 2149-2176, December.
    2. Rey, David & Dixit, Vinayak V. & Ygnace, Jean-Luc & Waller, S. Travis, 2016. "An endogenous lottery-based incentive mechanism to promote off-peak usage in congested transit systems," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 46-55.
    3. Shanjiang Zhu & David Levinson & Henry Liu, 2017. "Measuring winners and losers from the new I-35W Mississippi River Bridge," Transportation, Springer, vol. 44(5), pages 905-918, September.
    4. Di, Xuan & He, Xiaozheng & Guo, Xiaolei & Liu, Henry X., 2014. "Braess paradox under the boundedly rational user equilibria," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 86-108.
    5. repec:eee:phsmap:v:507:y:2018:i:c:p:133-152 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Eyran Gisches & Amnon Rapoport, 2012. "Degrading network capacity may improve performance: private versus public monitoring in the Braess Paradox," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 73(2), pages 267-293, August.
    7. Emmanuel Dechenaux & Shakun Mago & Laura Razzolini, 2014. "Traffic congestion: an experimental study of the Downs-Thomson paradox," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 17(3), pages 461-487, September.
    8. O'Hare, Steven J. & Connors, Richard D. & Watling, David P., 2016. "Mechanisms that govern how the Price of Anarchy varies with travel demand," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 55-80.
    9. Ferenc Forgó, 2014. "Measuring the power of soft correlated equilibrium in 2-facility simple non-increasing linear congestion games," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 22(1), pages 139-155, March.
    10. Sun, Li & Liu, Like & Xu, Zhongzhi & Jie, Yang & Wei, Dong & Wang, Pu, 2015. "Locating inefficient links in a large-scale transportation network," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 419(C), pages 537-545.
    11. repec:eee:phsmap:v:483:y:2017:i:c:p:74-82 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Yamada, Takashi & Hanaki, Nobuyuki, 2016. "An experiment on Lowest Unique Integer Games," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 463(C), pages 88-102.
    13. Tanjim Hossain & Dylan Minor & John Morgan, 2011. "Competing Matchmakers: An Experimental Analysis," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 57(11), pages 1913-1925, November.
    14. Rapoport, Amnon & Mak, Vincent & Zwick, Rami, 2006. "Navigating congested networks with variable demand: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 648-666, October.
    15. Rapoport, Amnon & Gisches, Eyran J. & Daniel, Terry & Lindsey, Robin, 2014. "Pre-trip information and route-choice decisions with stochastic travel conditions: Experiment," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 154-172.

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