Thursday, February 2, 2017

How Does the Environment Affect Perceived Wait Times at Transit Stops?

Transit Stop Environments and Waiting Time Perception Impacts of Trees, Traffic Exposure, and Polluted Air (Abstract, Marina Lagune-ReutlerRelated information, Andrew GuthrieRelated information, Yingling FanRelated information, and David Levinson, Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Jan. 9, 2017)

Also discussed here: Transit Riders’ Perception of Waiting Time and Stops, Surrounding Environments (17 page MS Word, Marina Lagune-Reutler, Andrew Guthrie, Yingling Fan, David Levinson, Draft submitted to Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, July 2015)

Today we review research based on over 800 responses from users of public transit in Minneapolis, MN. The key factor studied was the wait times –both real and perceived- and how this varied with the type of environment found at bus and transit stops. Results indicate that polluted air and the presence of heavy traffic near the stops tended to increase the length of perceived wait time when this was over 5 minutes while the presence of trees and light traffic shortened the perceived wait time. Conclusions and recommendations to encourage more transit use include locating transit lines away from traffic and heavily polluted areas and planting trees and foliage near the stops. Canadians and those in cold climates would be heartened by the finding that more or less snow has little effect on transit users who, if anything were more likely to happy they
  were not driving a private car.


 Key Quotes:

“research on pedestrian design finds that high-quality and natural environments reduce stress and encourage walking and bicycling. It seems reasonable that similar effects would apply for transit users on the basis of the environments around transit stops”

“For waits longer than 5 min, perceptible pollution and exposure to traffic led to significant overestimates of waiting time. Riders waiting at stops with dense, mature tree cover, however, significantly underestimated their waiting times”

 “regular riders have relatively lower burdens for waiting than occasional transit users. Passengers’ negative emotions such as anxiety, boredom or stress tend to increase time perception of time while distractions appear to reduce their wait time estimates”

“women perceive longer waiting time at stops or stations located in an unsafe environment:at a simple curbside bus stop, a 10 minute wait seems to take nearly half an hour.”

 “The effect of dense, mature tree cover is strong enough to compensate for the effects of both air pollution and traffic awareness”

“The results strongly support the research hypothesis that the surrounding environment of transit stops and stations affects transit user’s wait time perception. They show in particular that air pollution, traffic awareness, and presence of mature trees are significantly correlated with wait time perception.”

 “The effect of the snow cover is unexpectedly positive and shows that the weather does not affect negatively transit users’ time perception. Transit users may be happy about the fact they aren’t driving, and alternatively, transit users on such days may have a high tolerance for cold weather, due to self selection.”

 “the results suggest that the more trees are present, the shorter the wait time is perceived by riders while the more polluted and exposed to the traffic the more transit users tend to overestimate wait time. These findings advocate for high quality urban environment surrounding stops and stations.”

 “Creating exclusive transit lanes or streets reserved for transit, bicycles and pedestrians (where feasible) are likely to reduce waiting time perceptions the most, due to low traffic volumes in terms of vehicle frequency compared with automotive traffic.”

 “the alignment of transit routes and the location of stops avoiding highly polluted areas where possible without affecting travel demand can also contribute to shorter wait time especially when headways are greater than five minutes”

 “Planting trees around stops offers local authorities an opportunity to significantly improve users' wait time perception,”

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