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Should I stay or should I board? Willingness to wait with real-time crowding information in urban public transport

Drabicki, Arkadiusz; Cats, Oded; Kucharski, Rafał; Fonzone, Achille; Szarata, Andrzej


Arkadiusz Drabicki

Oded Cats

Rafał Kucharski

Andrzej Szarata


Overcrowding is a major phenomenon affecting travel experience in urban public transport, whose negative impacts can be potentially mitigated with real-time crowding information (RTCI) on public transport vehicle departures. In this study, we investigate the willingness to wait (WTW) with instantaneous RTCI to avoid the in-vehicle (over)crowding the passenger faces, focusing specifically on urban crowding context (i.e. bus and tram systems). We conduct a stated-preference survey in Krakow (Poland), where we examine the choice probability between boarding now a more crowded vehicle vs. waiting at the stop for a less-crowded PT departure, and estimate a series of discrete choice models.

Results show that 50–70% of respondents consider skipping a first departure which is excessively overcrowded and 10–30% would skip a vehicle with moderate standing crowding on-board. Acceptable waiting times typically range between 2 and 13 min, depending on crowding level and propensity to arrive on-time, but may even exceed 20 min in individual cases. These findings indicate that RTCI can induce a substantial WTW, affecting travel behaviour. We discuss its implications for mitigating service disruptions and demand management policies, including prospective support for public transport recovery in the aftermath of covid-19 crisis.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 15, 2023
Online Publication Date Mar 1, 2023
Publication Date 2023-03
Deposit Date Mar 1, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 1, 2023
Print ISSN 2210-5395
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 47
Article Number 100963
Keywords public transport, overcrowding, real-time crowding information, RTCI, willingness to wait


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