People Don't Use the Shortest Path

9 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2011 Last revised: 21 Jan 2011

See all articles by Shanjiang Zhu

Shanjiang Zhu

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

David Matthew Levinson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: July 31, 2009


Most recent route choice models, following either Random Utility Maximization or rule-based paradigm, require explicit enumeration of feasible routes. The quality of model estimation and prediction is sensitive to the appropriateness of consideration set. However, few empirical studies of revealed route characteristics have been reported in the literature. Such study could also help practitioners and researchers evaluate widely applied shortest path assumptions. This study aims at bridging the gap by evaluating morning commute routes followed by residents at the Twin Cities, Minnesota. Accurate GPS and GIS data were employed to reveal routes people utilized. Findings from this study could also provide guidance for future eff orts in building better travel demand models.

Keywords: random utility maximization, route choice, model estimation, transportation, geographic information science

JEL Classification: R40, R41

Suggested Citation

Zhu, Shanjiang and Levinson, David Matthew, People Don't Use the Shortest Path (July 31, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Shanjiang Zhu

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities ( email )

420 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

David Matthew Levinson (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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