Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
What do people know about their public transport options?: Investigating the memory representation of public transport through telephone interviews in a residential area of Stockholm, Sweden
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Transport and Economics, Traffic and Logistics.
2008 (English)In: Transportation, ISSN 0049-4488, E-ISSN 1572-9435, Vol. 35, no 4, 519-538 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper studies the memory representations of residents regarding the public transport system in their city. Telephone interviews were conducted with a representative sample of 204 inhabitants in a selected residential inner-city area in Stockholm. Route knowledge questions, recognition tasks, free-recall tasks and estimations of service frequency were used to explore memory representations. The results showed that, in general, residents in metropolitan areas have good knowledge of the public transport options along well-known transport corridors. The memory representation of lesser-known transport corridors tends to be of a poorer quality. In the results presented here, the variables gender, age, employment status, level of education and car availability had no correlation with the quality of the memory representation, but experience increased knowledge. Although frequent users of public transport had a more detailed representation of the system, the less frequent users also had a considerable- and good-memory representation. An explorative hierarchy for representation of public transport lines in the memory is proposed. It is hypothesised that memory representations of a transport line can be affected by the following three factors: the extent to which a line is visible in the urban area, the straightness of the routes and whether or not stops are labelled, for example, by destination area. Simply put, these factors determine how well a person knows a line. It was found that people first remember a commuter train and a trunk bus line, followed by metro lines and suburban buses and finally normal inner-city buses with the poorest anchorage in memory.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Springer , 2008. Vol. 35, no 4, 519-538 p.
Keyword [en]
cognitive map; knowledge; public transport; residents' memory representation
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8224DOI: 10.1007/s11116-008-9164-xISI: 000256473400005OAI: diva2:13486
QC 20100621Available from: 2008-04-09 Created: 2008-04-09 Last updated: 2010-09-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Ease-of-Use in Public Transportation: A User Perspective on Information and Orientation Aspects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ease-of-Use in Public Transportation: A User Perspective on Information and Orientation Aspects
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

This interdisciplinary thesis combines psychological and transportation planning knowledge. Three main questions are investigated: 1) What concepts and ideas do people have with regard to a public transportation system (cognitive user perspective)?; 2) What orientation and information factors within the public transportation system enhance Ease-of-Use and make it simpler and more efficient to use public transportation in metropolitan areas?; 3) How can Ease-of-Use of a public transportation route be measured?

A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods was used. Between 2002 and 2007 a total of nine different studies were conducted: An in-depth study on a single exchange student, an interview study with exchange students, a questionnaire study on exchange students, a before-after interview study with travellers on selected bus stops, an before-after telephone interview study on residents, an expert questionnaire study via email, a behaviour observation study on travellers, a before-after questionnaire study on travellers on a tram line, and an on-board questionnaire study.

To analyse the cognitive user perspective the term memory representation was introduced, that includes cognitive maps of and additional knowledge about a public transportation system such as service frequency. Memory representation is influenced by experience. Three learning phases in an unknown public transportation system are proposed and a general information search script is described. A new approach is presented regarding the organisation of public transportation knowledge: The ground level is that there exists a public transportation option, the next level is the identification of the mode of transport and at the highest level of the hierarchy is the code for the line. Within the second level, the public transportation mode, a hierarchical structure of public transportation option knowledge is proposed. Three factors are postulated that contribute to the extent to which a line is represented in people’s memory: visibility, straight route layout and labelling.

Which orientation and information factors within the public transportation system enhance Ease-of-Use, i.e. match the cognitive user perspective? It was found that trunk bus lines enhanced Ease-of-Use and at-stop real-time information can have various positive effects. The role of good maps is explained and stretched and the importance of consistent information throughout the travel chain is also pointed out. In addition, many valuable concrete hints are given with regard to how to match the system properly with the cognitive user perspective. Undoubtedly, an interaction exists between system and user and they influence each other. This is where the third research question comes in: How can Ease-of-Use in public transportation systems be measured? The iterative process of defining and measuring Ease-of-Use resulted in a scale that measured the defined concept well with good reliability and validity. The final discussion highlights the contribution to science of this thesis and presents some possible paths for further research. The thesis consists of a summary and eight papers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH, 2008. 57 p.
Trita-TEC-PHD, ISSN 1653-4468 ; 08:001
public transportation, user perspective, psychology, public transportation planning, evaluation, newcomers in a city
National Category
Civil Engineering
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4696 (URN)978-91-85539-29-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-05-23, Hall F3, KTH, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
QC 20100621Available from: 2008-04-09 Created: 2008-04-09 Last updated: 2010-09-24Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Dziekan, Katrin
By organisation
Traffic and Logistics
In the same journal
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 117 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link