You Are Not Alone: Path Search Models, Traffic, and Social Costs

Authors Fateme Teimouri , Kai-Florian Richter

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Fateme Teimouri
  • Department of Computing Science, UmeåUniversity, Sweden
Kai-Florian Richter
  • Department of Computing Science, UmeåUniversity, Sweden

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Fateme Teimouri and Kai-Florian Richter. You Are Not Alone: Path Search Models, Traffic, and Social Costs. In 11th International Conference on Geographic Information Science (GIScience 2021) - Part I. Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 177, pp. 14:1-14:16, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)


Existing cognitively motivated path search models ignore that we are hardly ever alone when navigating through an environment. They neither account for traffic nor for the social costs that being routed through certain areas may incur. In this paper, we analyse the effects of "not being alone" on different path search models, in particular on fastest paths and least complex paths. We find a significant effect of aiming to avoid traffic on social costs, but interestingly only minor effects on path complexity when minimizing either traffic load or social costs. Further, we find that ignoring traffic in path search leads to significantly increased average traffic load for all tested models. We also present results of a combined model that accounts for complexity, traffic, and social costs at the same time. Overall, this research provides important insights into the behavior of path search models when optimizing for different aspects, and explores some ways of mitigating unwanted effects.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Human-centered computing
  • Information systems → Geographic information systems
  • Information systems → Location based services
  • wayfinding
  • navigation complexity
  • spatial cognition
  • social costs


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