The importance of being early
The assumption that the penalty for being early is less than that for being late was put forward by Vickrey (1963) who analyzed how commuters compare penalties in the form of schedule delay (due to peak hour congestion), against penalties in the form of reaching their destination (ahead or behind their desired time of arrival). This assumption has been tested by many researchers since then for various applications, especially in modeling congestion pricing (Arnott et al., 1990) where it is critical to understand the tradeoff between schedule delay and travel delay. Key findings are summarized in the second section of this paper. This research aims to test this hypothesis of earliness being less expensive than lateness using empirical data at different levels and across different regions. New methods to estimate the ratio of earliness to lateness for different types of datasets are developed, which could be used by agencies to implement control policies like congestion pricing or other schemes more accurately. Travel survey data from metropolitan areas provide individual travel patterns while loop detector data provide link level traffic flow data.
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