On the (ir)relevance of prospect theory in modelling uncertainty in travel decisions

Harry Timmermans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)


This paper reflects on the relevance of prospect theory for transportation research. By discussing the original purpose and context of this theory of risky choice and the models that have been derived from the theory, the shortcomings and boundaries of the theory are discussed. It is argued that many applications in transportation and travel behaviour research may have stretched the domain of this theory too much, and that the theory lacks the necessary set of mechanisms and concepts to serve as a comprehensive theory of repeated travel choices under uncertainty. The discussion of shortcomings may serve to define a research agenda for further developing operational choice models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-384
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010


  • Prospect theory
  • Travel choice
  • Uncertainty


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