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Train overcrowding: Investigation of the provision of better information to mitigate the issues

Train overcrowding: Investigation of the provision of better information to mitigate the issues
Train overcrowding: Investigation of the provision of better information to mitigate the issues
Crowded trains are a feature of many railway networks, and adversely affect both train passengers and rail operators. For passengers, the lack of space or inability to get a seat can lead to a lack of physical comfort, reduced productivity and increased stress. Crowded trains can also lead to problems boarding and alighting, increasing dwell times and making it harder for operators to provide a reliable service. It is therefore desirable to reduce crowding levels, but it isn’t always practical to achieve this by increasing capacity and other measures need to be considered. Some passengers have shown willingness to change their behaviour to avoid crowding, for example by waiting for a later train, and measures to encourage such behavioural changes more widely could be beneficial overall. Better information provision could be one such measure, and a stated preference survey was undertaken on a commuter and airport service in order to investigate this further. It was found that the provision of information about crowding levels and seating availability on alternative trains would encourage some passengers to wait for a less crowded train. While the willingness of passengers to wait for a later train varied with both trip purpose and with the origin station, the findings suggest that real-time information would improve the passenger experience and could form the basis of a revenue neutral demand-management system. The implications for station design are particularly pertinent for countries such as the USA where significant investment in new passenger rail systems is expected.
0361-1981
1-8
Preston, John
ef81c42e-c896-4768-92d1-052662037f0b
Pritchard, James
6eabbdbc-385b-4636-9bd5-c0ac239f2351
Waterson, Ben
60a59616-54f7-4c31-920d-975583953286
Preston, John
ef81c42e-c896-4768-92d1-052662037f0b
Pritchard, James
6eabbdbc-385b-4636-9bd5-c0ac239f2351
Waterson, Ben
60a59616-54f7-4c31-920d-975583953286

Preston, John, Pritchard, James and Waterson, Ben (2017) Train overcrowding: Investigation of the provision of better information to mitigate the issues. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2649 (1), 1-8. (doi:10.3141/2649-01).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Crowded trains are a feature of many railway networks, and adversely affect both train passengers and rail operators. For passengers, the lack of space or inability to get a seat can lead to a lack of physical comfort, reduced productivity and increased stress. Crowded trains can also lead to problems boarding and alighting, increasing dwell times and making it harder for operators to provide a reliable service. It is therefore desirable to reduce crowding levels, but it isn’t always practical to achieve this by increasing capacity and other measures need to be considered. Some passengers have shown willingness to change their behaviour to avoid crowding, for example by waiting for a later train, and measures to encourage such behavioural changes more widely could be beneficial overall. Better information provision could be one such measure, and a stated preference survey was undertaken on a commuter and airport service in order to investigate this further. It was found that the provision of information about crowding levels and seating availability on alternative trains would encourage some passengers to wait for a less crowded train. While the willingness of passengers to wait for a later train varied with both trip purpose and with the origin station, the findings suggest that real-time information would improve the passenger experience and could form the basis of a revenue neutral demand-management system. The implications for station design are particularly pertinent for countries such as the USA where significant investment in new passenger rail systems is expected.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 2 November 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 1 January 2017
Published date: 1 January 2017
Organisations: Transportation Group

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 403693
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/403693
ISSN: 0361-1981
PURE UUID: 54652672-9566-4381-a0ff-a124165a6940
ORCID for John Preston: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6866-049X
ORCID for Ben Waterson: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9817-7119

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 09 Dec 2016 09:24
Last modified: 13 Nov 2021 05:07

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