IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Perception of Waiting Time at Signalized Intersections


  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Xinkai Wu & David Levinson & Henry Liu, 2008. "Perception of Waiting Time at Signalized Intersections," Working Papers 200909, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:perceivedwaitingtime

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2008
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    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. DeSerpa, A C, 1971. "A Theory of the Economics of Time," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 81(324), pages 828-846, December.
    3. Lei Zhang & David Levinson, 2005. "Balancing Efficiency and Equity of Ramp Meters," Working Papers 200508, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Pavithra Parthasarathi & Anupam Srivastava & Nikolas Geroliminis & David Levinson, 2011. "The importance of being early," Transportation, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 227-247, March.

    More about this item


    Traffic Signal; Stated Preference; Virtual Experience Stated Preference; Signalized Intersection; Value of Time; Perception of Time;

    JEL classification:

    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:perceivedwaitingtime. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Levinson). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.