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Ease-of-Use in Public Transportation: A User Perspective on Information and Orientation Aspects
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Transport and Economics, Traffic and Logistics.
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.
Series
Trita-TEC-PHD, ISSN 1653-4468 ; 08:001
Keyword [en]
public transportation, user perspective, psychology, public transportation planning, evaluation, newcomers in a city
National Category
Civil Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-4696ISBN: 978-91-85539-29-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-4696DiVA: diva2:13493
Public defence
2008-05-23, Hall F3, KTH, Lindstedtsvägen 26, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100621Available from: 2008-04-09 Created: 2008-04-09 Last updated: 2010-09-24Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. The transit experience of newcomers to a city: learning phases, system difficulties and information search strategies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The transit experience of newcomers to a city: learning phases, system difficulties and information search strategies
2008 (English)In: Proceedings of the 87th TRB Meeting, 2008Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Civil Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8223 (URN)
Note
QC 20100621Available from: 2008-04-09 Created: 2008-04-09 Last updated: 2010-08-17Bibliographically approved
2. 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
Open this publication in new window or tab >>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
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
Keyword
cognitive map; knowledge; public transport; residents' memory representation
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8224 (URN)10.1007/s11116-008-9164-x (DOI)000256473400005 ()
Note
QC 20100621Available from: 2008-04-09 Created: 2008-04-09 Last updated: 2010-09-10Bibliographically approved
3. Reducing uncertainty and supporting cognitive maps in travel information for public transport
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reducing uncertainty and supporting cognitive maps in travel information for public transport
2010 (English)In: World Rewiew of Intermodal Transportation Research, ISSN 1749-4729, Vol. 3, no 1-2, 73-90 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

One cause of negative attitudes towards public transport may be due to feelings of uncertainty that travellers experience. We argue that these negative feelings are due to a lack of information and that, in public transport, besides the regular service information, information should also be provided that helps to reduce uncertainty, i.e., information which supports the cognitive map of the traveller. This information should confirm that which is already present in the cognitive map, and should provide extra information about the transport system and the area in which it is used. We show the relevance of our argument by using research from several projects. Furthermore, we discuss the needs and wishes of travellers concerning travel information and the ergonomic principles involved in the design process of travel information.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Olney: Interscience publishers, 2010
Keyword
Cognitive ergonomic guidelines; Cognitive map; Public transport; Travel information; Traveller information needs; Uncertainty reduction
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8225 (URN)10.1504/WRITR.2010.031580 (DOI)2-s2.0-77951269641 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100621Available from: 2008-04-09 Created: 2008-04-09 Last updated: 2010-09-24Bibliographically approved
4. Customer reactions to implementation of a trunk bus network in Stockholm/Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Customer reactions to implementation of a trunk bus network in Stockholm/Sweden
2005 (English)In: Proceedings of UITP Conference 2005 in Rome/Italy, 2005Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8226 (URN)
Note
QC 20100621Available from: 2008-04-09 Created: 2008-04-09 Last updated: 2010-09-24Bibliographically approved
5. Influence of a New Trunk Bus Route on the Memory Representation of Residents and Patronage
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Influence of a New Trunk Bus Route on the Memory Representation of Residents and Patronage
2007 (English)In: Proceedings of World Conference on Transport Research (WCTR), 2007Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Keyword
public transport, memory representation, trunk bus system, residents, user perspective
National Category
Civil Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8227 (URN)
Note
QC 20100924Available from: 2008-04-09 Created: 2008-04-09 Last updated: 2010-09-24Bibliographically approved
6. Dynamic At-stop Real-time Information Displays for Public Transport: Effects on Customers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Dynamic At-stop Real-time Information Displays for Public Transport: Effects on Customers
2007 (English)In: Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
, ISSN 0965-8564, Vol. 41, no 6, 489-501 p.
Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Dynamic at-stop real-time information displays are becoming more and more ubiquitous in modern public transport. Reactions and attitudes towards these systems are very positive. But there is a need to provide a comprehensive framework of the possible effects that these kinds of displays can have on customers. The seven main effects described in this paper are: (A) reduced wait time, (B) positive psychological factors, such as reduced uncertainty, increased ease-of-use and a greater feeling of security, (C) increased willingness-to-pay, (D) adjusted travel behaviour such as better use of wait time or more efficient travelling, (E) mode choice effects, (F) higher customer satisfaction and finally (G) better image. Two studies are presented in this paper. Study I supports and proves that perceived wait times can be reduced by 20% by employing a before-after implementation evaluation study with questionnaires on a tramline. Study II shows the effects of real-time displays on behaviour in the form of adjusted walking speeds, by using a behaviour observation method in a subway station. The effect framework does not claim completeness and many effects are related to each other. However, the framework is a useful basis for designing evaluation studies and provides arguments in favour of at-stop real-time information displays.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2007
Keyword
Public transport traveller information, Real-time information, User reaction, Customer satisfaction, Wait time, Evaluation
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-10896 (URN)10.1016/j.tra.2006.11.006 (DOI)000245864100001 ()2-s2.0-33847730319 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100621Available from: 2009-07-30 Created: 2009-07-30 Last updated: 2010-09-10Bibliographically approved
7. Psychological effects of and design preferences for real-time information displays
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Psychological effects of and design preferences for real-time information displays
2006 (English)In: Journal of Public Transportation, ISSN 1077-291X, Vol. 9, no 1, 1-19 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article investigates the effects of real-time information, located at stops and stations, on the public transportation customer. Perceived wait time, feelings of security, and ease of use were considered to be sensitive indicators. The case of newly implemented traveler information on tramline 15 in the Hague, the Netherlands, was used for a before-and-after evaluation study containing questionnaires given to travelers. One month before and 3 months and 16 months after implementation, the same sample of travelers completed in a questionnaire. Further, four orientations of the displays at tram stops, assembled for testing purposes, were evaluated. The main results were that the perceived wait time decreased by 20 percent, while no effects on perceived security and ease of use were found. Displays installed perpendicular to the tracks and separate from the shelter were ranked highest.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Tampa: Center for Urban Transportation Research, 2006
Keyword
Hague (Netherlands); Information display systems; Netherlands; Psychological aspects; Public transit; Questionnaires; Real time information; Schedules; Signs; Streetcars; Visual displays; Waiting time
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-10889 (URN)
Note
QC 20100621Available from: 2009-07-30 Created: 2009-07-30 Last updated: 2010-09-24Bibliographically approved
8. How to Measure “Ease-of-Use” in Public Transportation?: Scale construction and testing
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How to Measure “Ease-of-Use” in Public Transportation?: Scale construction and testing
2008 (English)In: Umweltpsychologie, ISSN 1434-3304Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Keyword
Public transportation, Ease-of-use, Questionnaire, Cognitive effort, Affective effort
National Category
Civil Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-8230 (URN)
Note

QS 20120314

Available from: 2008-04-09 Created: 2008-04-09 Last updated: 2016-12-05Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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