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Visual communication of recommended routes using cartographic visualization

Visual communication of recommended routes using cartographic visualization

Leitung:  Fuest, Sester
Jahr:  2020

Project description

As traffic volumes increase, effective approaches for improving road traffic in urban environments are becoming increasingly relevant. For maintaining an effective and safe transport system, it is important for traffic management to inform the road users about temporarily preferable route alternatives. There are different reasons for which a particular route could be recommended by traffic authorities, such as attempting to reduce overall congestion or intensive pollution of particular areas.

Studies regarding route choice behavior show that drivers tend to make a route decision for the individual benefit. But this individually preferred route may not always be beneficial for the whole traffic system. Due to the increasing emergence of mobile navigation devices such as car navigation or phones for route planning, a large number of route decisions are made based on cartographic maps, as provided by routing applications. Therefore, the question is, how can we use maps to influence the road user’s route choice towards deciding for a recommended route that temporarily benefits the whole traffic system? Among other cartographic visualization techniques (e.g. using cartographic generalization), visual variables for symbolizing traffic-related information in a map are supposed to have a large influence on route choice behavior, as it is possible to visually communicate advantages of preferable routes as well as emphasize disadvantages of non-recommended routes. The objective of this project is to investigate, how the use of automatically produced symbolization of recommended routes could influence route choice behavior.

The project provides the opportunity to explore some of its components (such as cartographic design, implementation of functions, conducting user studies or developing an interactive application) as part of a Bachelor/or Master Thesis.


Possible directions for topics in the context of the project 

Focus on cartographic design

Developing methods for automatically visualizing recommended routes – adapted to different environmentally relevant scenarios. This includes the implementation of functions for automatizing the processes.

Developing a smartphone application

The focus of this potential topic would be to design an interactive application, which calculates the optimal route based on different traffic related scenarios (e.g. minimizing traffic congestion or reducing air pollution). Depending on the scenario, routes will be visualized using different cartographic methods, in order to communicate the efficiency of a route. Visualization would then need to be adapted to small display sizes and different zoom levels.

Evaluating effectiveness of methods by conducting a user study

As part of this topic, the effectiveness of different visual concepts for influencing route choice should be investigated by focusing on designing, conducting and evaluating an empirical user study. This study should investigate the effect on route choice behavior using different design variants of visual variables, as well as the intuitiveness for communicating the associated information and the acceptability of the produced cartographic representations.

Additional factors that influence route choice

For example, investigating the influence of route/road network structure on the visualization's potential for influencing route choice.



► General interest in the field of cartographic design

► Depending on the focus, experience in spatial data management and analysis (e.g. PostGIS, QGIS), programming skills (e.g. Python, JavaScript,...) and/or knowledge of statistical analysis methods

► Thesis can be written in German or English



M.Sc. Stefan Fuest (

Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil Monika Sester (