Congestion pricing with cumulative prospect theory to quantify the travelers’ degree of satisfaction during their trips

Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, Volume 125, April 2021, 103042, A novel urban congestion pricing scheme considering travel cost perception and level of service

  • Address equity issues from the perspective of travel perception difference in congestion pricing.
  • Combine the concept of level of service (LOS) and demand management into a single pricing scheme.
  • The perceived LOS is quantified by cumulative prospect values (CPV) to design the new pricing scheme.
  • The proposed pricing yields positive savings with total time savings outweigh revenues collected.

This paper proposes a novel congestion pricing scheme for the metropolitan urban networks where a cumulative prospect theory (CPT) is adopted to quantify the travelers’ degree of satisfaction during their trips. Using the concept of the cumulative prospect values (CPV) in CPT, an area-based congestion price (or toll) is designed to reduce the peak-hour travel demand while taking into account the level of service perceived by the travelers.

We demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed pricing scheme via an agent-based simulation for the Melbourne network. Results of the proposed CPV-based distance toll is compared with the flat distance-based toll and bi-direction cordon toll in terms of the network performance, behavioral changes, and social welfare improvement. Promisingly, the proposed CPV-based pricing scheme can reduce the long-distance trips (greater than10 km) inside the congested central business district by over 30% while discourage non-commuting trips during peak hours, making more road resources available to commuting trips. Furthermore, it is found that the proposed CPV-based pricing scheme yields positive savings, where the total time savings outweigh the revenues collected, thus proving its high efficiency and desirability among all the comparative pricing schemes.


Cumulative prospect theoryLevel of serviceCPV-based congestion pricingNetwork-level toll controlActivity-based simulation