California Department of Transportation


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The Research Connection

The Caltrans Division of Research, Innovation and System Information hosts occasional future Research Connection Webinars, which when scheduled, will be announced here. The latest research connection summary can be found on this page below. Other past research connections can be found by selecting Past Research Connections from the left navigation bar of this page. Research Connection presentations are designed to bring researchers and practitioners together to exchange information and transfer knowledge.



Experimental Studies of Traffic Incident Management with Pricing,
Private Information, and Diverse Subjects

Presented By:

David Brownstone, Michael McBride, Amine Mahmassani, and Si-Yuan Kong

Monday, June 19, 2017
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm


On Monday, June 19, 2017, UC Irvine Staff presented "Experimental Studies of Traffic Incident Management with Pricing, Private Information, and Diverse Subjects."

Webinar Presentation Slides
Event Information

Research Team Accomplishments:

  1. Implemented a real-time, multi-subject, 2D driving simulator to test the effectiveness of incident and congestion management schemes using realistic information and incentives.

  2. Tested the standard Caltrans Variable Messaging System (VMS) protocol and a panel of modifications and discovered that some modifications, such as the use of dynamic feedback, significantly improves system performance.

  3. Tested a road pricing mechanism with truthful value of time elicitation and found that it improves significantly upon traditional tolling schemes.

  4. Results were replicated using both UCI student subjects and a nationwide adult sample using the Amazon Mechanical Turk platform.

Presenters Information

David Brownstone (Ph.D., Economics, UC Berkeley) is Professor of Economics and a member of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Irvine. He has studied the demand for automobiles (both type choice and utilization) and the demand for high occupancy toll lanes in California. He has also consulted with Caltrans on the demand for rail service in California and with the California Energy Commission on their models for light vehicle fuel use. Professor Brownstone is a member of the editorial board for Transportation Research B, Economics of Transportation, and the Journal of Choice Modeling.

Michael McBride (Ph.D., Economics, Yale University) is Professor of Economics and Director of the Experimental Social Science Laboratory at UC Irvine. His research uses game theory and experimental methods to study collective action and conflict. His work has appeared in various journals, including the Journal of Economic Theory, the Journal of Public Economics, the American Journal of Sociology, the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and the Journal of Conflict Resolution.

Amine Mahmassani is an economics Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Irvine. He has been conducting traffic experiments with human subjects for 3 years, and has presented his work at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting as well as the Southwest Experimental and Behavioral Economics Workshop.

Si-Yuan Kong is an economics PhD candidate at the University of California, Irvine. Since entering the program, his research has focused on using human subject experiments in virtual environments to study various real-time decisionmaking problems. He has presented his work on driver response to variable message signs at the UCCONNECT student conference and the Transportation Research Board annual meeting.


Webinar Information

Date Presented:
June 19, 2017, Monday
Time Presented:
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, Pacific Standard Time

For more information, check the Division of Research and Innovation Website or contact Melissa Clark (916) 227-4172....