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Perception of Waiting Time at Signalized Intersections

Listed author(s):
  • Xinkai Wu
  • David Levinson


  • Henry Liu

    (Nexus (Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems) Research Group, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota)

Perceived waiting time at signalized intersections differs from the real value, and varies with signal design. The onerousness of delay depends on the conditions under which it is experienced. Using weighted travel time time may contribute to optimal signal control if its use can improve upon assuming that all time is weighted equally by users. This research explores the perception of waiting time at signalized intersections based on the results of an online survey, which directly collected the perceived waiting time and the user ratings of the signal designs of each intersection on an arterial including 3 intersections. Statistically analyzing the survey data suggests the perception of waiting time is a function of the real time; and a quadratic model better can describes relationship. The survey also indicates that there exists a tradeoff between the total waiting time and the individual waiting time of each intersection. It turns out that drivers prefer to split the total waiting time at different intersections at the price of a longer total wait if the difference of the total waiting time of two signal designs is within 30 seconds. The survey data shows that the perceived waiting time, instead of the real waiting time, better explains how users will rate the individual signal designs for both intersections and arterials including multiple intersections.

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File Function: First version, 2008
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Paper provided by University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group in its series Working Papers with number 200909.

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Date of creation: 2008
Publication status: Published in Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 2135 pp. 52-59.
Handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:perceivedwaitingtime
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Dept. of Civil Engineering, 500 Pillsbury Drive SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

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  1. Sergio R. Jara-Diaz & Cristián A. Guevara, 2003. "Behind the Subjective Value of Travel Time Savings," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 37(1), pages 29-46, January.
  2. Lei Zhang & David Levinson, 2005. "Balancing Efficiency and Equity of Ramp Meters," Working Papers 200508, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  3. DeSerpa, A C, 1971. "A Theory of the Economics of Time," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 81(324), pages 828-846, December.
  4. David Levinson & Kathleen Harder & John Bloomfield & Kasia Winiarczyk, 2004. "Weighting Waiting: Evaluating the Perception of In-Vehicle Travel Time Under Moving and Stopped Conditions," Working Papers 200401, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
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