Foxes and sheep: effect of predictive logic in day-to-day dynamics of route choice behavior

Hamed Alibabai, Hani S. Mahmassani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In this study drivers are categorized into two groups, called first-level (sheep) or second-level (foxes) thinkers, based on extent of reliance on predictive logic in their day-to-day decision process. While the first-level thinkers are using the distributed information as the only contributor to their belief, the second-level thinkers strategize by means of predicting others’ behavior. The study shows how the proportion of the two user types will affect system travel times. Investigation is performed primarily through numerical experiments conducted in an idealized traffic system. There is a threshold for the proportion of the second-level thinkers, which minimizes the variability of the travel time in the traffic system. Below this value, the second-level thinkers benefit from using the foxy logic. This advantage decreases with increase in the proportion of the second-level thinkers and disappears once the threshold is exceeded. It is also shown that in a learning society, opportunistic behavior pays off less. Learning also reduces the system fluctuations, resulting in greater stability. Implications for advanced traveler information and intelligent system management are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-67
Number of pages15
JournalEURO Journal on Transportation and Logistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Day-to-day evolution
  • Learning in travel behavior
  • Level of thinking
  • Predictive logic
  • Risk aversion
  • Route choice behavior
  • Second-level thinking
  • System dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Transportation
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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