Research Projects



METRANS Research Investigates Truck Driver Route Choice

Friday, April 7, 2017

By Natalie Xuya Jiang, USC MS CE 2018


The method and outcome of truck routing choice has been a focus of conversation worldwide. Key factors in that choice have been identified as a balance between choices which incur a minimal amount of value of time (VOT) and those which ensure a high value (level) of reliability (VOA). A large numbers of stated preference surveys have been conducted in an effort to understand these key factors of route choice.  

In order to better utilize these surveys and understand route choice, METRANS Researcher California State University Long Beach (CSULB) Professor of Civil Engineering and Construction Engineering Management Joseph Kim, aided by CSULB undergraduate student William Pasco and CSULB graduate student Sai K. Kothapalli, conducted research on how to make a comprehensive cost-benefit analyses concerning toll roads, which can help to develop a full design of the stated preference survey.

Kim, Pasco and Kothapalli designed the questionnaire and collected data at the Harbor Truck Stop on Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach, California. They then used fuzzy AHP model to evaluate the key factors that affect route choice characteristics of the truck drivers and then determined the appropriate weights of each alternative.

In the figure below, Kim, Pasco and Kothapalli illustrate “criterion and the alternatives within each criterion that were used in the fuzzy AHP survey," which lead to their conclusion that route choice is a multi-criteria decision. Route characteristics play the largest role in this decision-making process. And of the route characteristics, travel time and reliability of on-time arrival are the most significant factors, followed by safety, which also played a major role.

In conclusion, this research not only provides insight in deciding whether certain projects will be economically beneficial for the community, but also creates an evaluation method for multi-criteria decision making to help researchers and managers determine the drawbacks and opportunities of their decisions.


Criteria and alternatives used for Fuzzy AHP survey

For more information on this research project, please click here.


Xuya Jiang

Author Xuya Jiang is a student writer for METRANS Transportation Center. She is a first year graduate student majoring in Transportation Engineering in the Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California. She is interested in studying the use of data analysis to improve traffic flow and transportation planning. She is pursuing related internships in these fields and can be reached at [email protected].