Author: Mulley C, Clifton G, Balbontin C, and Ma L (2017)
Journal: Transportation Research Part A
Public transport authorities and service providers place great emphasis on information provision to travellers both before and during travel. Information provided prior to travel has included printed timetables, newspaper advertisements, telephone services and marketing campaigns. During the trip, providers have tended to offer maps at public transport stops (i.e. bus stops, train stations, ferry wharves, etc.) as well as timetables static, dynamic or real-time.
Some of these channels are still used but improvements in digital technology has led to a wider range of information distributed using different digital media. Whilst Transport for NSW and transport operators continue to provide the more traditional information, there has been a plethora of third party applications which are accessible on the move.
The literature recognises that the need for information and the importance of information provision differs at the various stages of the trip, from planning, to entry into the system, to wayfinding during the trip and egress from the system. However, no systematic research exists as to how information preferences and usage differ between customer segments. It is important for operators and regulators to identify the segments and their information preferences so as to promote public transport use.
This paper addresses this important issue by presenting the results of an internet survey of the public’s awareness and usage of public transport information, focussing on commuters. The paper looks at awareness and usage of information sources and how this varies by stage of journey and frequency of usage of public transport. Factor analysis is used to identify segments of customers by attitudes towards public transport and usage of information sources.
The paper uses an ordered choice modelling approach and finds few differences between frequent and infrequent users but confirmed the role of attitudes in framing the respondent’s identification of their satisfaction with the overall public transport trip and with the information sources provided. The paper also identifies the importance of recognising the non-homogeneity of information sources. The paper concludes how the type of information preferred by travellers varies by public transport mode and varies by trip segment.