Research Article: An extension of the technology acceptance model for understanding travelers’ adoption of variable message signs

Date Published: April 25, 2019

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): El Bachir Diop, Shengchuan Zhao, Tran Van Duy, Dejan Dragan.


Understanding travelers’ acceptance of Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS) is crucial to the implementation of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) capable of mitigating traffic congestion and improving network performance. This paper adopted an extended Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) to predict and explain road users’ intention to use Variable Message Sign (VMS) information. In addition to the traditional parsimonious TAM constructs (perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use and behavioral intention), the model examined the effects of attitude towards route diversion, familiarity with road network and information quality on road users’ acceptance of VMS. 762 drivers were interviewed and the obtained data were processed using Structural Equation Modeling. The results showed that travelers’ attitude towards route diversion had a positive effect on perceived usefulness and intention to use VMS. Information quality had a positive direct effect on perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use and attitude towards route diversion. Familiarity with the network had a positive effect on attitude towards route diversion and a negative effect on the perceived usefulness of VMS information. Perceived ease of use significantly and positively affected perceived usefulness and intention to use VMS. Perceived usefulness also had a positive effect on intention. Several academic and practical implications were also discussed.

Partial Text

As a major component of Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS), Variable Message Signs (VMS) have been widely adopted to assist travelers in making more informed decisions. VMS can provide real-time information relating to speed limit, congestion, safety warnings (e.g. fogs, slippery roads, etc.), parking, etc. In China and internationally, recent technological developments have helped implement more advanced information display strategies [1–5]. In China, major cities such as Shanghai have considered the possibility of adopting more advanced VMS such as D-VMS. Unlike the type of VMS used in many Chinese cities, D-VMS can display information on both the local streets and the expressway [4,5]. However, despite the technological advancements, there is still room for improvement and the existing VMS still have not reached the effectiveness expected mainly due to travelers’ lack of acceptance of the information provided [6,7]. Thus, there is a need to investigate the factors affecting drivers’ acceptance of VMS. Identifying these factors and their effects will help better predict and explain drivers’ response to the information displayed, which, in turn, will help improve the design and implementation of VMS.