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Human Wayfinding in Path-Networks: A Survey of Possible\ud Strategies.

By N.M. Gotts


This paper is derived from an unpublished D.Phil thesis: "Unplanned Wayfinding in Path-Networks: A Theoretical Study of Human Problem-Solving (Gotts 1988). It is a modified version of those parts of the thesis most relevant to the design of wayfinding aids such as variable message signs (VMS) and in-vehicle route-guidance information (IVRGI) systems. This paper, however, does not itself discuss such wayfinding aids; rather, it is a step toward understanding the problem-solving strategies and the internal representations ofthe environment human wayfinders use in the absence of aids of these types. The paper is theoretical in nature, but suggestions are made for empirical tests of some of the hypotheses put forward. Without an understanding of common wayfinding strategies and the internal representations underlying them, efforts to design genuinely useful wayfinding aids are bound to be groping in the dark: at best, they may be shown to be useful in a specific network, to a specific group of people, under given circumstances - with no guarantee that this usefulness will transfer to other networks, travellers, or circumstances. Understanding the route-choice behaviour of road-users requires consideration of the information about the travel environment available to them. An assumption of perfect information about the layout of the travel environment and the traffic conditions within it is a convenient simplification - but is also wholly unrealistic. We cannot be confident that this lack of realism is unimportant in transport modelling

Publisher: Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds
Year: 1992
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