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Boundedly rational travel behavior: a review of models and methodologies

In: Transportation Research Part B, 85, 142-179

Authors: Xuan Di, Henry X. Liu

Perfect rationality (PR) has been widely used in modeling travel behavior. As opposed to PR, bounded rationality (BR) has recently regained researchers’ attention since it was first introduced into transportation science in the 1980s due to its power in more realistic travel behavior modeling and prediction. This paper provides a comprehensive survey on the models of BR route choice behavior, aiming to identify current research gaps and provide directions for future research. Despite a small but growing body of studies on employing bounded rationality principle, BR route choice behavior remains understudied due to the following reasons: (a) The existence of BR thresholds leads to mathematically intractable properties of equilibria; (b) BR parameters are usually latent and difficult to identify and estimate; and (c) BR is associated with human being’s cognitive process and is challenging to model. Accordingly, we will review how existing literature addresses the aforementioned challenges in substantive and procedural bounded rationality models. Substantive bounded rationality models focus on choice outcomes while procedural bounded rationality models focus on the empirical studies of choice processes. Bounded rationality models in each category can be further divided based on whether time dimension is included. Accordingly, static and dynamic traffic assignment are introduced in substantive bounded rationality while two-stage cognitive models and day-to-day learning models in procedural bounded rationality are discussed. The methodologies employed in substantive bounded rationality include game theory and interactive congestion game, while those in procedural bounded rationality mainly adopt random utility and non- or semi-compensatory models. A comparison of all existing methodologies are given and bounded rationality models’ scope and boundaries in terms of predictability, transferability, tractability, and scalability are discussed. Finally existing research gaps are presented and several promising future research directions are given.