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Lost in transit? Unfamiliar public transport travel explored using a journey planner web survey


  • Lorelei Schmitt


  • Graham Currie
  • Alexa Delbosc


Attracting and retaining public transport users is fundamental to a number of land use and transport policy objectives which seek to reduce single-occupant vehicle travel. Understanding the psychological processes underlying unfamiliar public transport use may assist in achieving this aim. This paper explores unfamiliar transit travel using a survey conducted through an online travel planning website in Melbourne, Australia. The survey obtained ‘before and after’ travel data and explored the circumstances of unfamiliar travel, travel experiences, and the impact of these experiences on attitudes and behavior. A total of 3,537 ‘before’ responses and 658 eligible ‘after’ surveys were obtained including 152 unfamiliar transit journeys. Compared with familiar travel, unfamiliar travel was more commonly associated with: life events, less time living in Melbourne, travel companionship, visiting new locations, and non-work-related trip purposes. Unfamiliar travel experiences were rated more negatively for ‘navigation’ and ‘emotional state (level of anxiety)’ and more positively for ‘expected versus actual travel time’ and ‘level of comfort’. Analysis of travel attribute ratings and intention to re-patronize services indicated that there was a significant relationship between positive trip experiences and intention to re-patronize services for all users, and particularly for unfamiliar travelers. These results suggest that unfamiliar public travel experiences are quite different to familiar travel and are important to optimize to encourage re-patronization and help grow public transport markets. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Lorelei Schmitt & Graham Currie & Alexa Delbosc, 2015. "Lost in transit? Unfamiliar public transport travel explored using a journey planner web survey," Transportation, Springer, vol. 42(1), pages 101-122, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:transp:v:42:y:2015:i:1:p:101-122
    DOI: 10.1007/s11116-014-9529-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Engel, Christoph & Beckenkamp, Martin & Glöckner, Andreas & Irlenbusch, Bernd & Hennig-Schmidt, Heike & Kube, Sebastian & Kurschilgen, Michael & Morell, Alexander & Nicklisch, Andreas & Normann, Hans-, 2014. "First impressions are more important than early intervention: Qualifying broken windows theory in the lab," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 126-136.
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    3. Schmitt, Lorelei & Currie, Graham & Delbosc, Alexa, 2013. "Measuring the impact of unfamiliar transit travel using a university access survey," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 301-307.
    4. Van Exel, N.J.A. & Rietveld, P., 2009. "Could you also have made this trip by another mode? An investigation of perceived travel possibilities of car and train travellers on the main travel corridors to the city of Amsterdam, The Netherland," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 374-385, May.
    5. Ajzen, Icek, 1991. "The theory of planned behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-211, December.
    6. Mackett, Roger L. & Edwards, Marion, 1998. "The impact of new urban public transport systems: will the expectations be met?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 231-245, May.
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