Making the train : an examination of five perspectives of rail access and how they resonate with existing and potential passengers

Zuniga, Kelly, Bevrani, Kaveh, & Bunker, Jonathan (2013) Making the train : an examination of five perspectives of rail access and how they resonate with existing and potential passengers. In O'Keeffe, Brendan (Ed.) Australasian Transport Research Forum 2013 Proceedings, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD.

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Abstract

Rail operators recognize a need to increase ridership in order to improve the economic viability of rail service, and to magnify the role that rail travel plays in making cities feel liveable. This study extends previous research that used cluster analysis with a small sample of rail passengers to identify five salient perspectives of rail access (Zuniga et al, 2013). In this project stage, we used correlation techniques to determine how those perspectives would resonate with two larger study populations, including a relatively homogeneous sample of university students in Brisbane, Australia and a diverse sample of rail passengers in Melbourne, Australia.

Findings from Zuniga et al. (2013) described a complex typology of current passengers that was based on respondents’ subjective attitudes and perceptions rather than socio-demographic or travel behaviour characteristics commonly used for segmentation analysis. The typology included five qualitative perspectives of rail travel.

Based on the transport accessibility literature, we expected to find that perspectives from that study emphasizing physical access to rail stations would be shared by current and potential rail passengers who live further from rail stations. Other perspectives might be shared among respondents who live nearby, since the relevance of distance would be diminished. The population living nearby would thus represent an important target group for increasing ridership, since making rail travel accessible to them does not require expansion of costly infrastructure such as new lines or stations.

By measuring the prevalence of each perspective in a larger respondent pool, results from this study provide insight into the typical socio-demographic and travel behaviour characteristics that correspond to each perspective of intra-urban rail travel. In several instances, our quantitative findings reinforced Zuniga et al.’s (2013) qualitative descriptions of passenger types, further validating the original research. This work may directly inform rail operators’ approach to increasing ridership through marketing and improvements to service quality and station experience. Operators in other parts of Australia and internationally may also choose to replicate the study locally, to fine-tune understanding of diverse customer bases. Developing regional and international collaboration would provide additional opportunities to evaluate and benchmark service and station amenities as they address the various access dimensions.

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ID Code: 63314
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: railway station access, passenger satisfaction, mode choice, attitude measures, Q method, train, increasing ridership, travel behaviour, intra-urban rail travel, accessibility
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING (120500) > Transport Planning (120506)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 14 Oct 2013 22:41
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2013 23:10

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