The principles of pedestrian route choice

Yunhe Tong, Nikolai W. F. Bode*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Pedestrian route choice, the process by which individuals decide on their walking path between two locations, is a fundamental problem across disciplines. Because this behaviour is investigated from different conceptual and methodological angles, and because it strongly depends on the environmental context, it is challenging to establish a systematic framework for research. Here, by reviewing previous work, we identify four principles for pedestrian route choice that are relevant across disciplines. First, ‘information perception’ deals with how pedestrians can perceive information selectively and purposely, given the limited available information. Second, ‘information integration’ considers how pedestrians subjectively integrate environmental spatial information into mental representations. Third, ‘responding to information’ is concerned with how pedestrians tend to be attracted and repelled by specific attributes individually and how this can lead to positive or negative feedback loops across many individuals. Fourth ‘decision-making mechanisms' describe how pedestrians trade off the evidence provided by different attributes. How pedestrians perceive, integrate, respond to, and act upon information is not fixed but varies with the context. We give examples for each principle and explain how these principles shape pedestrian choice behaviours. We hope this contribution provides a systematic overview of the field and helps to spark inspiration among specialists.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0220061
JournalJournal of The Royal Society Interface
Issue number189
Early online date6 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • route choice
  • pedestrian behaviour
  • decision-making
  • interdisciplinary studies
  • theoretical framework


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