Designing mobile application messages to impact route choice: A survey and simulation study

Christina Maria Mayr, Anne Templeton, Gerta Köster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Crowd congestion is a common issue at train stations around major sports events, and puts passengers at risk and lowers service quality. Guiding arriving fans along less traveled routes may alleviate congestion. Smartphone apps provide a medium to deliver route suggestions but the messages they provide are pivotal to adherence. We explore how message design affects pedestrians' willingness to follow route instructions. We present an online survey conducted with two groups: football fans, and students and faculty associates. We vary the presence of top down views of the route choices at train station Münchner Freiheit in Munich, real-time information on congestion, and appeals to team spirit. We compute a distribution of route choices that suggests that congestion may be reduced with the right combination of message components for each target group. We then use a computer simulation to investigate the congestion situation. Our results suggest that lowest congestion is achieved when people base their decisions on real-time information. The social identity approach is highlighted in our study as having a possible influence on message design. Moreover, it indicates that the implementation of such apps in real-life applications can improve safety. Our methodology can be applied to other scenarios to test the suitability of apps and message designs.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0284540
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2023


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