An agent-based choice model for travel mode and departure time and its case study in Beijing

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, ridership - behaviour, ridership - mode choice, policy - congestion, planning - surveys


Agent-based model, Mode choice, Departure time choice, Travel behavior


Aiming to alleviate traffic jams, many traffic management strategies/policies are adopted to nudge travelers to re-arrange their departure time or switch from driving to public transit or non-motorized mode. Analytical travel behavior model is needed to predict travelers’ departure time choice and mode switch under such strategies. In this paper, we developed an agent-based model for travellers’ choices of mode and departure time. Departing from the traditional utility maximization theory, this model focuses on the decision-making process based on imperfect information, bounded and distinctive rationalities. In the modeling framework, travelers accumulate experiences and update their spatial and temporal knowledge through a Bayesian learning process. Before making a trip, travelers decide whether to search for alternative departure time and/or travel mode according to their expected search gain and cost. When an additional search happens, travelers decide whether or not to switch to the new departure time and travel mode according to a series of decision conditions. Both the search and decision processes are represented by production (if–then) rules derived from a joint revealed/stated-preference survey data collected in Beijing. Then the agent-based model is applied to evaluate congestion charge policies with various demand scenarios in the 2nd ring road of Beijing. Results suggest that the model can display the peak spreading and mode switch process practically.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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