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Psychological effects of and design preferences for real-time information displays
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Transport and Economics, Traffic and Logistics.
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. Vol. 9, no 1, 1-19 p.
Keyword [en]
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
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-10889OAI: diva2:228400
QC 20100621Available from: 2009-07-30 Created: 2009-07-30 Last updated: 2010-09-24Bibliographically 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

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