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Analysis of Awareness and Use of Traffic

Information System with Revealed


Preference Data
Case Study of Klang Valley, Malaysia

Hooi Ling Khoo and Ghim Ping Ong

To alleviate traffic congestion on Malaysia’s highways and roads, the Inte- television, Internet, and phone calls. Radio, variable message signs
grated Transport Information System (ITIS) was established in Klang (VMS) and in-vehicle guidance systems can be used en route.
Valley, Malaysia, to collect and disseminate updated traffic information. In Europe and North America (1–12), numerous research efforts
One important aspect of this system is the use of various traffic infor- have investigated drivers’ awareness and use of ATIS tools. Table 1
mation tools [Internet, radio, and variable message signs (VMS)] in dis- summarizes some of the studies obtained from the literature. Most
seminating traffic information pretrip and en route. To investigate the research has been focused on VMS, and little research has been done
effectiveness of ITIS, this paper assesses the level of awareness and use on other ATIS tools. More important, the factors affecting the level of
of ITIS in the Klang Valley region. Using a revealed preference survey awareness and use of ATIS tools differ from city to city, indicating
and adopting a discrete choice modeling approach, researchers found that findings are often not transferable geographically.
that the level of awareness (58% for VMS, 22% for radio pretrip, 48% In recent years, studies on driver behavior upon receiving VMS
for radio en route, and 12% for Internet) and use (29% change depar- information were carried out in developing Asian cities. Table 2 sum-
ture time and 22% divert) of ITIS were low in the region. Driver demo- marizes this research (13–19). Many of these studies were focused
graphics had little impact on the awareness and use of ITIS, whereas trip on the receptivity of using VMS information to change travel pat-
characteristics played an important role. Drivers in the Klang Valley terns and on establishing factors affecting this receptivity. How-
region had limited trust in the accuracy of data provided by ITIS and ever, little work in developing Asian countries has been done to study
did not perceive such data to be useful in reducing their travel time. whether VMS are preferred over existing means of traffic informa-
These findings demonstrate the need for strategies to improve awareness tion dissemination (such as radio and Internet) and why drivers
of ITIS and to increase its credibility. choose to change their travel patterns in terms of route choice and
departure time.
Noting the need to understand these factors to allow for better
It is generally accepted today that one cannot build one’s way out of
traffic congestion. As such, many megacities in developing countries traffic management and realizing that Asian drivers are intrinsically
are exploring various traffic management alternatives and intelligent different from their American and European counterparts, researchers
transportation system options to manage congestion on roadways. aimed to investigate how aware travelers in the cities of developing
In particular, many developing countries have explored the develop- countries, in particular the Klang Valley region in Malaysia, are of
ment of an advanced traveler information system (ATIS) within their the availability of different traffic information dissemination means
intelligent transportation systems to disseminate timely traffic infor- and how they perceive and use the information in their daily travels.
mation to travelers which allows them the flexibility to select their The paper first investigates the level of awareness of three different
most preferred routes and transport modes. information dissemination tools within the ATIS (Internet, radio,
The effectiveness of ATIS in traffic management depends on the and VMS). Surveys were performed in the Klang Valley region of
driver’s perception of the system (i.e., awareness of the system’s Malaysia, and models were developed to investigate the factors that
availability—whether drivers are aware of the existence of various can affect the level of awareness for each means of information dis-
ATIS tools and the type of traffic information each tool delivers) and semination. Then researchers investigated whether the traffic infor-
use of the system (whether a driver decides to change his or her route mation received from the ATIS was used. Through the use of discrete
or transport mode on the basis of the information provided by the choice models, use of traffic information can be measured in terms of
ATIS tools). The commonly available pretrip ATIS tools are radio, the probability of travel patterns adjustments (such as route diversion
and changing of departure time for travel).
H. L. Khoo, Department of Civil Engineering, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Jalan
Genting Kelang, Setapak, 53300 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. G. P. Ong, Depart-
ment of Civil Engineering, National University of Singapore, 117576 Singapore. STUDY AREA
Corresponding author: H. L. Khoo, khoohl@utar.edu.my.
The area chosen for this study is the Klang Valley region, which
Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board,
No. 2239, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington,
includes Kuala Lumpur (the capital of Malaysia) and its neighbor-
D.C., 2011, pp. 101–111. ing suburban cities and towns. The region is located in the state of
DOI: 10.3141/2239-12 Selangor and is the nation’s main industrial and commercial region.

101
102 Transportation Research Record 2239

TABLE 1 Summary of Findings from Past Research on Awareness and Use of Traffic Information Dissemination Tools:
North America and Europe

City Major Findings

Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1) Factors affecting VMS awareness


Frequency of drivers encountering VMS signboards
Perceive usefulness of VMS information
Trust on information provided (accuracy and reliability)
North East Warrington, United Kingdom (2) Factors affecting VMS awareness
Content of message
Relative journey times in normal conditions
Drivers’ characteristics
Northwestern Indiana (3) Factors affecting VMS awareness
Content of message
Drivers’ economic characteristics
Network spatial knowledge
Confidence in displayed information
Amsterdam, Netherlands (4) Factors affecting propensity to use radio
Length of trip
Types of trip
Drivers’ demographics
Alternative route availability
Level of satisfaction with alternative routes, type (toll/highway/streets), and distance
Positive correlation between VMS and radio
Seattle, Washington (5) 97% of drivers preferred commercial radio
Rank of preference of ATIS tools is: radio, VMS, highway advisory radio, television, phone
Correlation between TV, radio, and VMS
Females are more likely to receive traffic information from TV, VMS, radio
Austin, Texas (6) Older and female drivers more likely to listen to radio to obtain traffic information
Commuters tend to switch route and departure time choice rather than route choice alone
Females change travel patterns more often than males
Seattle, Washington (7) 49% of drivers preferred to get information from website
22% of drivers actually use the information obtained from website
There are 6 important factors that affect ATIS effectiveness: regional context, awareness,
nature of trips, information quality, delay, availability of alternative
Eleven U.S. states (8) Factors affecting awareness to traffic information availability
Socioeconomics
Habitual travel pattern
Congestion levels
Attitude toward technology
Males are less likely to perceive traffic information as important
Drivers with higher income are less likely to view traffic information
Households with higher vehicle ownership are more likely to view traffic information
Seattle, Washington (5) Drivers are more likely to change their routes from work than from home
Drivers are more likely to divert to known routes compared to unknown routes
Drivers who change route affected by
Traffic message
Traffic congestion
Time of day
Weather
Time pressure
2–4% of drivers are influenced by pretrip information
Females are more reluctant to alter routes
Paris (9) 70% of respondents indicated that they will change route choice
35% of respondents had actually changed their route choice
Los Angeles, California (10) Factors affecting route choice
Travel time is not dominant in route choice criterion
Male is more risk prone and willing to change route
Commuters value and use pretrip information more than en route information
Drivers’ who perceived higher information reliability more prone to route change
Drivers traveling on longer distance tend to choose alternative roads
Orlando, Florida (11) Drivers’ age and income do not affect route diversion
High educated drivers more likely to divert
Qualitative information is more beneficial than quantitative information
Severe weather information increases the compliance with pretrip and enroute information
Drivers being away from origin or close to destination increase enroute compliance
San Francisco, California (12) Percentage of drivers on route choice change: 30%–84%
Percentage of drivers on departure time choice change: 13%–44%
Khoo and Ong 103

TABLE 2 Summary of Findings from Past Research on Awareness and Use of Traffic Information
Dissemination Tools: Asia

City Major Findings

Tokyo (13) Factors affecting route choice


Intended choice prior to receiving information
Accuracy of information
Trip purpose
Drivers’ familiarity with the network
Beijing (14) Route choice depended on traffic situation and driving experience
Drivers tendency of diversion increased with increased driving experience
Guongzhou, China (15) 79% of drivers perceive VMS as useful
35% of drivers agreed that VMS could reduce traffic congestion
27% of drivers agreed that VMS could reduce traffic accident
31% of drivers will divert upon receiving queue information
98% of drivers will divert upon receiving traffic congestion information
Taiwan, China (16) 63% of drivers said that they would divert given the traffic information
81% perceive that VMS is useful
54% satisfied with the information delivered via VMS
However, 63% of drivers are not aware of VMS
Bangkok, Thailand (17) Awareness of traffic information availability via VMS is affected by
Gender: female more aware of information
Age: elderly more aware of information
Education level: those with lower education level more aware of information
Route diversion affected by
Daily mileage
Education level
Age
Gender
Awareness of VMS is found to be not statistically significant as the direct determinant for
stated route diversion
Bandung, Indonesia (18) 4%–10% of drivers choose alternative roads
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (19) An analysis of traffic flow shows that VMS could reduce travel time by 19.7% and the
occupancy is shortened by 5.3%

Figure 1 shows the location of Klang Valley and its suburban cities. Currently, the system covers all major roads in the Kuala Lumpur
Over the years, the region has achieved strong economic growth com- Federal territory. A total of more than 200 km of roads, which
pared with other states in Malaysia, and this growth has resulted in includes 45 arterial roads, is monitored (20). The system was devel-
migration from other states. Population in the region grew from 4 mil- oped with a cost of 365 million Malaysian ringgit (RM) (approxi-
lion in 2004 to 6 million in 2007. Along with the region’s growth in mately $100 million; $1 = 3.60 RM, in 2010 dollars). This large-scale
economy and increase in population size, the number of private vehi- project involved the installation of more than 250 closed-circuit tele-
cles has also increased by about 50%, growing from 2.2 million in vision cameras for traffic monitoring at key intersections, 700 video
1996 to 5.5 million in 2008. About 55% of these vehicles are private vehicle detector stations, 140 VMS, and 1,600 vehicle tracking
cars, 35% are motorcycles, 0.37% are buses, 0.59% are taxis, 5% are units to serve as dynamic probes. Various ITIS tools are used to dis-
trucks, and 4% are other types of vehicles (21). Use of private trans- seminate traffic information. The most common tools are Internet,
portation has also increased, and the modal split of private vehicles to radio, and VMS. The ITIS online portal (22) provides real-time
public transportation changed from 75% to 25% in 1985 to 84% to traffic information on roadways over the Internet. Recently, another
16% in 2006. The increased use of automobiles has resulted in traffic website (www.llmtraffik.com.my) was set up by the Malaysia Highway
congestion in the region, causing average traffic speeds on the major Authority to provide real-time traffic information on most of the express-
roads to be reduced to a critical level. ways in the Klang Valley region. Besides the Internet, one can also rely
In 2005, the Malaysian government decided to develop a traffic on either VMS or radio for updated traffic information. For example,
information system to help improve the current traffic management sys- myFM (101.8 Hz) periodically reports traffic conditions in the region
tem used in the Klang Valley region. The traffic information system from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
developed by City Hall, Kuala Lumpur, the governing authority of the
region, combined the existing advanced traffic management system and
ATIS into the Integrated Transport Information System (ITIS). ITIS METHODOLOGY
collects traffic data from detectors and closed-circuit television cameras
installed on the roadways ITIS is also equipped with an automatic Survey
incident detection system to detect the occurrence of unexpected inci-
dents. The Transport Management Centre is set up to process, man- A revealed preference questionnaire was designed to investigate driv-
age, and analyze the traffic data. The center then disseminates the ers’ awareness and use of ITIS. An excerpt from the questionnaire
updated near-real-time traffic information to drivers in the region. is shown in Figure 2.
104 Transportation Research Record 2239

FIGURE 1 Klang Valley area and study area (20).

The questionnaire is composed of three sections. Section I covers ability of ITIS and their expected benefits from the implementation
the socioeconomic and travel characteristics of the drivers. Socio- of ITIS.
economic characteristics include gender, race, age, monthly income, The survey was conducted from October 2, 2009, to December
education level, household size, and number of working adults and 31, 2009, in the Klang Valley region. A team of 15 trained inter-
number of vehicles in the house. For the travel-related characteris- viewers conducted surveys at shopping malls, petrol kiosks (filling
tics, respondents estimated their average weekly travel time and dis- stations), schools, and other facilities in the region. Target respon-
tance traveled. Section II of the questionnaire is divided into three dents were drivers with valid licenses and sufficient driving experi-
subsections to study awareness and use of ITIS, namely Internet, ence; 1,506 respondents were interviewed. Table 3 summarizes the
radio, and VMS. Questions asked in each subsection include the fre- characteristics of the respondents.
quency of the tool being used to obtain traffic information, trip pur-
pose, and number of trips generated weekly. The respondents are
then asked to provide reasons for not adopting any particular traffic Discrete Choice Models
dissemination tool. For radio, an additional question is asked to
check if the respondent is aware of traffic information availability Discrete choice models were developed to represent the level of aware-
by other means (pretrip and en route). Section III of the question- ness and use of ITIS. The level of awareness can be represented by a
naire is related to the use of traffic information in respondents’ trav- five-point-scale: never, once in a month, once in a week, two to five
els. Use of traffic information is tracked by checking whether drivers times in a week, and daily. The model scale resembles the Likert scale,
have made changes in their departure time choice, route choice, or in which the responses are discrete ordered variables. Ordered proba-
both after receiving information from each tool. In cases in which bility models are a form of discrete outcome models that relate the
respondents chose not to make any adjustments after receiving the dependent variables (in an ordered discrete scale) to independent vari-
traffic information, they were asked to provide a reason. Lastly, the ables, which can be continuous or discrete. If the levels of awareness
respondents were asked about their opinion of ITIS. They were for two traffic information dissemination tools, for example, radio and
asked to express on a five-point Likert scale (strongly disagree to VMS, are expected to share some unobserved correlation, a bivariate
strongly agree) their opinions on the usefulness, accuracy, and reli- ordered probit model can be modeled. It is derived by defining
Khoo and Ong 105

FIGURE 2 Excerpt from questionnaire form.


106 Transportation Research Record 2239

TABLE 3 Characteristics of Respondents

Variable Category Percentage Variable Category Percentage

Gender Male 51 Household size ≤2 18


Female 49 3–6 68
Race Malay 28 ≥7 14
Chinese 56 Number of working ≤2 56
Indian 15 adults in a household 3–6 42
Age (years) 18–28 58 ≥7 2
29–38 24
39–47 12 Vehicle ownership in a 1 38
48–57 5 household 2 32
>57 1 3 18
≥4 12
Monthly income <1,500 33
(RM) 1,501–3,500 49 Average weekly travel ≤5 35
3,501–7,000 16 time (h) 6–12 46
>7,001 2 >12 19
Education level SPM or SPTMa 23 Average weekly travel ≤50 32
Certificate or diploma 26 distance (km) 51–150 42
Bachelor’s degree 44 >151 26
Master’s and above 3
Others 5

a
SPM or SPTM = high school or pre-university.

unobserved variables y*ji, which are defined as linear functions for each where [⑀i1, ⑀i2] ∼ BVN [0, 0, 1, 1, ρ], −1, < ρ < 1, which takes the
observation as follows: same definition as mentioned above; BVN is bivariate normal.

y*ji = ␤j ⌾ji + ⑀ji (1)


MODELING RESULTS AND ANALYSES
where
The findings obtained from the survey are discussed in this section.
Xji = vector of independent variables for tool j for observation i, Discrete outcome models were developed to study the significance
␤j = vector of estimable parameters for tool j, and of each variable in contributing to awareness and use of ITIS.
⑀ji = random disturbances assumed normally distributed with
mean equal to zero and variance equal to one.
For a pair of ordered probit models, the random disturbances ITIS Awareness
could be linked by Cor(⑀1i, ⑀2i) = ρ. Accordingly, the observed ordinal
data yji for each observation is defined as Awareness of the availability of traffic information via various ITIS
tools, namely Internet, radio, and VMS, is first investigated. In par-
ticular, this paper investigates whether respondents are aware of these
⎧0 if y ji* ≤ 0
⎪ tools pretrip (Internet, radio, and VMS) and en route (radio and VMS).
yji = ⎨1 if 0 ≤ y ji* ≤ μ1 (2) The level of awareness is expressed as the frequency of drivers obtain-
⎪ 2, . . . , and so on j = 1, 2
⎩ ing the traffic information from the tools. Higher frequency of obtain-
ing traffic information via these tools means that drivers are highly
where μ are the estimable thresholds that define y. The ␤ in Equation aware of the traffic information availability of ITIS tools.
1 does not imply the effect of the changes of X on y*ji. The effect of
the changes should be checked according to the marginal effect com-
putation. If j = 1, a (single) ordered probit model is obtained. If the Awareness of ITIS Tools Pretrip
response is not ordinal, but in a form of binary (i.e., yes/no or 1/0), a
bivariate probit model can be established. The bivariate probit model It is important to understand whether drivers are aware that traffic
is appropriate to represent the response of respondents in surveying information is available through ITIS tools for trip planning purposes
their decisions on whether to adjust departure time choice and route before they embark on their journeys. The information could be static
choice. In this case, the formulation of the model is as follows: or dynamic (real-time). Internet and radio are the two common ITIS
tools available to disseminate pretrip information. An ordered probit
yi*1 = β1x i1 + ⑀ i1 model was developed to describe the pretrip models. Preliminary sta-
tistical analyses found little correlation between respondents who use
⎧1 if yi*1 > 0 the Internet and those who use radio to obtain traffic information [i.e.,
yi1 = ⎨
⎩ yi1 = 0 otherwise Cor(⑀1i, ⑀2i) = ρ is insignificant]. Respondents who use the Internet to
obtain travel information are proactive in searching for relevant informa-
yi*2 = β 2 x i 2 + ⑀ i 2
tion that can improve trip efficiency. However, those who use radio tend
⎧1 if yi*2 > 0 to be passive in nature and receive traffic information as a by-product of
yi 2 = ⎨ (3)
⎩ yi 2 = 0 otherwisse radio entertainment.
Khoo and Ong 107

TABLE 4 Ordered Probit Model for Internet Awareness TABLE 5 Ordered Probit Model for Radio Awareness

Variable Coefficient t-Statistic Variable Coefficient t-Statistic

Constant −2.855 −2.147 Constant −2.432 −2.602


Income (0: <RM 1,500; 1: RM 1,501–3,500; 0.293 2.623 Household size (0: ≤2; 1: 3–6; 2: ≥7) −0.234 −2.006
2: RM 3,501–7,000; 3: >RM 7,001) Weekly average traveling time −0.370 −3.636
Weekly average traveling time −0.640 −4.373 (0: ≤5hours; 1: 6–12 hours; 2: >12 hours)
(0: ≤5 hours; 1: 6–12 hours; 2: >12 hours) Weekly average traveling distance 0.372 3.758
Weekly average traveling distance 0.515 3.929 (0: ≤50km; 1: 51–150 km; 2: >151km)
(0: ≤50 km; 1: 51–150 km; 2: >151 km) Trip purpose
Weekly trip frequency (0: ≤3; 1: 5; 2: ≥6) 0.835 6.58 Work trips (0: no; 1: yes) 2.948 14.899
Trip purpose Shopping trips (0: no; 1: yes) 2.529 12.429
Work trips (0: no; 1: yes) 2.854 11.655 School trips (0: no; 1: yes) 2.835 14.109
School trips (0: no; 1: yes) 3.543 9.298 Shopping trips (0: no; 1: yes) 2.428 10.065
Social trips (0: no; 1: yes) 3.151 12.179 Frequency of trips generated 0.823 10.039
Restricted log likelihood −709.8 (0: ≤3; 1: 5; 2: ≥6)
Log likelihood at convergence −230.6 Restricted log likelihood −1,375.27
R2 .675 Log likelihood at convergence −560.15
R2 .593
NOTE: μ1 = 2.39; μ2 = 3.04; μ3 = 3.70
NOTE: μ1 = 0.702; μ2 = 1.304; μ3 = 2.207.

Internet An ordered probit model is developed to represent the


level of awareness (measured in terms of frequency of usage) of the than those respondents who use the Internet (12%) as a source of traf-
Internet as a source for traffic information. Table 4 shows the mod- fic information. Drivers might be already listening to radio for enter-
eling results. The following factors are significant in promoting the tainment, and the traffic updates are a by-product, allowing listeners
awareness (or selection) of the Internet as a preferred information to make travel adjustments upon receiving the latest traffic update.
dissemination tool: An ordered probit model was developed, and the modeling results
are shown in Table 5. The following factors are significant in pro-
• Socioeconomic characteristics of travelers. Travelers with higher moting the awareness (or selection) of radio as a preferred pretrip
personal income tend to use the Internet as a traffic dissemination tool travel information source:
because they tend to have Internet service at home.
• Trip characteristics. Internet tends to be used for pretrip infor- • Household size. Travelers from a smaller household size use
mation checking for travelers who spend a longer time or travel a radio as a source for traffic information. This usage is similar to
longer distance on the road, possibly because these travelers per- results found for the Internet, indicating that smaller households
ceive that pretrip travel information can aid in improving trip effi- tend to be more proactive in seeking pretrip traffic information.
ciency and reduce total travel time. More trips tend to be induced • Trip characteristics. Similar to results for the Internet, radio tends
when the Internet is habitually used to seek travel information. to be used for pretrip information by travelers who spend a longer time
Trip information from the Internet is found to be useful for work or distance on the road. Also, more trips are induced when radio is
trips, school trips, and social (recreational and shopping) trips. habitually used to seek travel information, and trip information from
the radio is found to be useful for work trips, school trips, and social
From the survey, 88% of the respondents had never visited traf- (recreational and shopping) trips.
fic information websites (22), indicating that market penetration of
the Internet as a traffic information dissemination tool is still low.
When asked to cite the reason for not visiting such websites, 70% of Awareness of ITIS Tools En Route
the respondents mentioned that they were not aware of the existence
of websites. After the respondents were informed of the websites, Two common types of ITIS tools used in dissemination of en route
67% mentioned that they would visit the websites at least once traffic information are radio and VMS. Preliminary analyses have
in the next 3 months to obtain traffic information. Among those shown that there is a correlation in user behavior for these two tools.
respondents who were aware of and had visited the websites, 55% Thus, a bivariate ordered probit model was developed to aid in
of them had obtained route information through the feature called investigating the factors that can affect the level of awareness of in
journey planner, 23% used the road congestion map feature to ITIS tools en route.
obtain traffic jam information, and 24% viewed the real-time traffic About 48% and 58% of the respondents were aware of the traf-
video stream. fic information disseminated by radio and VMS, respectively.
Table 6 shows the bivariate probit modeling results. The table
Radio Most of the radio channels in Malaysia provide brief traffic shows that there is a positive correlation (ρ = 0.457) between radio
information updates (such as incident locations and congested high- and VMS, indicating that there are probably some shared unobserved
ways or roads) within their programs. The survey revealed that 22% attributes in the users of these two tools. The following observations
of the respondents obtain traffic information by radio before their can be made:
trip, indicating a low market penetration for radio as a source of pre-
trip travel information. However, this percentage (22%) is still higher • Radio is more popular in households with more working adults.
108 Transportation Research Record 2239

TABLE 6 Bivariate Ordered Probit Models for Radio and VMS or road closures on their usual routes. En route information is more
likely to influence respondents’ route choice. When they know
Variable Coefficient t-Statistic where there is congestion, drivers can decide whether to divert to
Radio alternative routes.
The use of pretrip and en route ITIS information can result in
Constant −0.568 −1.172
changes in travel departure time, route, or both, so it is natural to
Frequency of trips (0: ≤3; 1: 5; 2: ≥6) 0.185 5.347
investigate ITIS use by analyzing whether drivers made any changes
Types of trip to their original departure time and route. A bivariate probit model
Work trips (0: no; 1: yes) 0.280 3.736
Social trips (0: no; 1: yes) 0.353 5.002 was developed in anticipation of a correlation between changes in
Shopping trips (0: no; 1: yes) 0.282 3.990 departure time choice and route choice. If travelers are willing to
Number of working adults in a 0.150 3.375 adjust their original departure times, this willingness shows that they
household (0: ≤2; 1: 3–6; 2: ≥7) are sensitive and more willing to accept the traffic information.
VMS Thus, travelers should also show similar behavior in changing the
Constant −0.749 −1.455 route choice, unless other factors prevent them from doing so. Table 7
Monthly income (0: <RM 1,500; 1: −0.005 −20.442
shows the results of the models.
RM 1,501–3,500; 2: RM 3,501–7,000; From the survey, 29% of the respondents noted that they would
3: >RM 7,001) shift their departure time upon receiving traffic information. Out of
Education level (0: high school; −0.001 −7.294 these respondents, 32% and 4.8% cited their desire to avoid heavy
1: diploma; 2: degree; traffic congestion and slow-moving traffic conditions, respectively.
3: master’s and above) Respondents who tend to change their departure time choices have
Vehicle ownership in a household −0.090 −3.245 the following characteristics:
(0:1; 1:2; 2:3; 3: ≥4)
Weekly average traveling time −0.119 −2.159 • They tend to perceive VMS as useful tools.
(0: ≤5 hours; 1: 6–12 hours;
2: >12 hours) • They tend to generate work trips and school trips. This group
Trip frequency 0.471 11.493 of respondents has fixed travel patterns (i.e., departure time and
Trip purpose
route). Forty-four percent of the respondents said that they would
Work trips (0: no; 1: yes) 0.109 2.470 change their departure time if they know beforehand that there is
Social trips (0: no; 1: yes) −0.203 −3.200 traffic congestion on the routes they frequently use.
Shopping trips (0: no; 1: yes) 0.132 2.816 • Ninety percent of the respondents who have chosen to change
Restricted log likelihood −2,549.8 their departure time upon receiving traffic information from ITIS
Log likelihood at convergence −1,367.0 commented that the information obtained was less accurate. This
McFadden pseudo–R-squared .464
Correlation, ρ 0.460 response shows that the system has technical limitations in com-
Radio: μ1 = 0.129, μ2 = 0.386, μ3 = 1.622 puting accurate travel speed on the roads and could not predict the
VMS: μ1 = 0.961, μ2 = 3.423 traffic situation in the near future.

Of the respondents who did not change departure time even though
the tools warned of ongoing congestion, 27% said that they were not
sure whether they could avoid traffic congestion by doing so, 17%
• Respondents with lower incomes and educational levels are said that they did not trust the information given, and 10.4% said
more aware of VMS. that they believed that the traffic congestion would be cleared by the
• Respondents with lower vehicle ownership tend to be aware of time they reached the scene.
the information delivered by VMS. In terms of adjusting their routes, 26% of the respondents noted
• Both tools tend to be used to obtain en route traffic information that they will divert to or choose alternative routes. The factors cited
for work, school, and social (shopping and recreational) trips. by drivers that could encourage them to divert are heavy traffic con-
• When the trip frequency increases, both tools tend to be used ditions (35%), slow-moving traffic conditions (5.7%), and roads
for obtaining traffic information. under maintenance (1.85%). For those who chose not to divert to
alternative routes, 45% said that they were not convinced that the
Besides these observations, respondents have noted that the most alternative routes would have better traffic conditions, 18% men-
useful information from VMS is the general information on scheduled tioned that the alternative roads are toll roads and they are not will-
events. Also, 76% of the respondents perceived VMS to be useful in ing to pay to use them, 13% noted that they do not know the alternative
aiding route choice en route. routes, 12% were afraid that they might lose their way if they trav-
eled on the alternative routes, and 12% believed that the alternative
routes were longer in distance. To summarize, the propensity of
ITIS Use diverting depends on the drivers’ familiarity with the road network,
the traffic conditions (i.e., travel speed) of the roads, and the toll
Besides the awareness of the availability of traffic information amount that needs to be paid. Respondents who tend to divert have
via ITIS tools, another important aspect is the use of traffic infor- the following characteristics:
mation obtained from these tools. Pretrip traffic information can
influence the choice of departure time. For example, drivers can • They tend to be more aware of VMS and perceive them as
choose to start their trips earlier or later if there are planned events useful.
Khoo and Ong 109

TABLE 7 Departure Time and Route Choice Bivariate Probit Model

Variable Coefficient t-Statistic

Departure Time Choice


Constant −1.551 −0.567
Perceived VMS usefulness (0: not useful; 1: useful) 0.377 2.156
Perceived information accuracy (0: strongly disagree; −0.309 −3.323
1: disagree; 2: neutral; 3: agree; 4: strongly agree)
Ranks of tools in terms of usefulness (1: best; 3: worst)
Radio 0.350 6.321
VMS 0.104 2.104
Trip purpose
Work trips (0: no; 1: yes) 1.440 7.400
School trips (0: no; 1: yes) 1.213 5.154
Shopping trips (0: no; 1: yes) 0.909 4.227
Contributing factors
Heavy traffic conditiona (0: no; 1: yes) 1.674 8.271
Slow-moving traffic conditiona (0: no; 1: yes) 1.429 4.952
Route Choice
Constant −1.707 −1.113
Frequency of listening to radio pretrip (0: never; 0.198 4.803
1: once/month; 2: once/week; 3: 2–5 times/week; 4: daily)
Frequency of reading VMS messages (0: never; 0.209 3.977
1: rarely; 2: occasionally; 3: every time)
Perceived VMS usefulness (0: not useful; 1: useful) 0.332 2.309
Perceived information accuracy (0: strongly disagree; −0.316 −3.218
1: disagree; 2: neutral; 3: agree; 4: strongly agree)
Perceived travel time savings (0: strongly disagree; −0.298 −3.640
1: disagree; 2: neutral; 3: agree; 4: strongly agree)
Ranks of tools in terms of usefulness (1: best; 3: worst)
Radio 0.165 3.382
Contributing factors
Heavy traffic conditiona (0: no; 1: yes) 0.797 4.137
Slow-moving traffic conditiona (0: no; 1: yes) 0.882 4.051
Trip purpose
Work trips (0: no; 1: yes) 1.706 9.442
Social trips (0: no; 1: yes) 1.068 5.753
Shopping trips (0: no; 1: yes) 0.838 5.058
School trips (0: no; 1: yes) 2.269 8.353
Log likelihood at convergence −748.51
Correlation, ρ 0.486
Tetrachoric correlation 0.713

a
Heavy traffic condition refers to a level of service of E or F; slow-moving traffic condition refers
to a level of service of C or D.

• They are more likely to obtain pretrip traffic information from COMMENTS ON TRAFFIC INFORMATION
radio, but perceive radio as less useful than VMS. SYSTEM RECEPTIVITY IN THE KLANG
• Eighty-six percent of the respondents who have diverted to VALLEY REGION
alternative routes found that the information is less accurate.
Fifty-five percent of them commented that there is no travel time From the questionnaire survey and the analyses presented, it was
savings by diversion. This result is because drivers can obtain found that the awareness level of the traffic information system
only partial information on the overall road network from radio availability is low in the Klang Valley region compared with find-
or VMS. In addition, ITIS does not provide any advice on the ings from past studies. The frequency of ITIS tools being used to
alternative routes travelers should choose. This lack of informa- obtain traffic information is 12% for Internet, 22% for pretrip radio,
tion has limited travelers in choosing the best routes to save travel 48% for radio en route, and 58% for VMS. When these results are
time. compared against the findings from other countries, it is obvious that
• Respondents tend to divert to alternative routes when traffic the level of awareness of the availability of traffic information via
conditions are heavy and slow moving. ITIS is low. In the United States, 22% used the Internet (7), 97.6%
• Respondents tend to divert for work trips, social trips, shopping used commercial radio (5), and 50% relied on VMS (4). In the
trips, and school trips. United Kingdom, 40% used pretrip radio (9). In Taiwan, 37% of
110 Transportation Research Record 2239

respondents were aware of VMS (16), and in Athens, Greece, 36.8% awareness and increase the credibility of ITIS. Examples could
used pretrip radio and 37.7% used radio en route (23). include improving travel time reliability reported in ITIS, launching
Among the three tools examined in the Klang Valley region, a traffic advisory radio that could deliver real-time traffic informa-
VMS are the most popular and are widely adopted by drivers to tion to drivers, providing advice on the best departure times and
obtain traffic information. Internet has the lowest usage, and many routes to use, improving features of ITIS and VMS coverage to
respondents were not aware of the availability of websites. Radio is include traffic conditions on alternative routes, and launching pub-
frequently used to obtain traffic information en route compared with licity campaigns to increase awareness of ITIS. It is anticipated that
pretrip. with the implementation of appropriate strategies, ITIS will have the
The level of use of ITIS tools (measured in terms of the adjust- potential to alleviate congestion in the Klang Valley region in the
ment of departure time and route choice) is also low. Only 26% near future.
and 24% of the respondents expressed a willingness to shift
their departure time and change to alternative routes, respectively.
About 17% of the respondents claimed that they would do both. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Compared with the findings from other countries, the level of use
in the Klang Valley region is relatively low. In the United States, This study was funded by Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman. The
13% to 44% of respondents will shift departure time (12) and authors thank the research assistants whose diligent work has made
30% to 84% will change route choice (12). In the United Kingdom, this study possible.
50% to 70% will change their route. In Athens, Greece, 54% will
change their route (23). In Bandung, Indonesia, 4% to 10% will
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