Cumulative prospect theory coupled with multi-attribute decision making for modeling travel behavior
Journal article, 2021

This study proposes an approach for modeling travel behavior under uncertainty coupling Cumulative Prospect Theory (CPT) with Multi-attribute Decision Making (MADM) theory. CPT is utilized to depict travelers’ evaluations of each attribute, and MADM describes the process of making tradeoffs among multiple conflicting criteria. Divergent perception principles for different attributes are considered in the proposed framework. The proposed approach is utilized for an empirical analysis concerning mode shift behavior for commuting in Shanghai of China, based on data collected by stated preference surveys. Results show that the proposed approach outperforms conventional methods in terms of model performances and behavioral revelations. Empirical results demonstrate that sensitivity to gains and losses in cost and travel time are divergent in mode shift behavior. More importantly, it is found that travelers underestimate the occurrence chances of low-probability travel time and overestimate the occurrence changes of high-probability travel time in mode shift behavior, which is contrary to the findings from economics. Travelers show substantial loss aversion features as well. The heterogeneity in the value functions of CPT is investigated to shed light on differences in the evaluation process among individuals. Results reveal quite different empirical CPT parameters and behavioral mechanisms in mode shift behavior as compared to monetary experiments in economics. It highlights the importance of empirical estimations in various travel choice contexts to essentially understand travel behavior mechanisms, rather than arbitrary usage of findings from economics.

Probability weighting

Smart mobility

Nonlinear sensitivity

Cumulative prospect theory

Sustainable transportation


Kun Gao

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Geology and Geotechnics

Lijun Sun

Ministry of Education China

Tongji University

Ying Yang

Australian Catholic University

Fanyu Meng

Southern University of Science and Technology

Xiaobo Qu

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Geology and Geotechnics

Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice

0965-8564 (ISSN)

Vol. 148 1-21

Subject Categories

Transport Systems and Logistics


Computer Science



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