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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

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Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-19-033    Date:  June 2019
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-19-033
Date: June 2019


Traveler Information Requirements During Nonrecurring Events

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Three experiments explored the traveler information messages most likely to result in desired changes in traveler behavior during nonrecurring events. Experiment 1 focused on pretrip traveler information needs. Event type and trip importance were found to have a greater effect on intended behavior than delivery mode. Experiments 2 and 3 evaluated the effect of specific variable message sign (VMS) message components on reported and simulated driving behavior. Information disseminated on VMSs was most likely to influence behavior if it included a specific action request. Participants also preferred messages that made declarative statements about the actual state of the road to those that provided speculative information about portions of the roadway. Drivers who were provided traveler information prior to driving past a simulated nonrecurring event reported a less stressful drive than those who were not given any information. The study highlights the value of traveler information and provides recommendations regarding the type of messaging that is likely to influence traveler behavior.

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