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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.


Drabicki, A., Cats, O., Kucharski, R., Fonzone, A., & Szarata, A. (in press). Should I stay or should I board? Willingness to wait with real-time crowding information in urban public transport. Research in Transportation Business and Management, Article 100963.

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


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