Investigating the impacts of ICT-mediated services - The case of public transport traveller information
Licentiate thesis, 2012
Transport is of fundamental importance to modern societies but adjustments are needed to improve the sustainability of the transport systems. Transport of people is an important part of the transport system but also regarding transport of people a shift is necessary from less to more sustainable transport patterns. Information and communication technology (ICT) and ICT-mediated travel information are considered important means to achieve the overall aim and influence travel behaviours. However, knowledge is lacking as to the actual effects of introducing ICT-mediated information services.
The overall aim of this thesis has been to investigate the effects of introducing systems for ICT-mediated traveller information services related to public transport.
Altogether three studies have been carried out. Study A was an interview study with representatives for Swedish public transport organisations in order to explore which the objectives for implementing real- time traveller information systems in public transport organizations had been and if these objectives had been fulfilled. Study A also explored how the systems were introduced into the organizations and what consequences, or effects, of the deployment of real-time traveller information systems had been noted. Study B involved a survey to travellers in Gothenburg in order to investigate travellers’ assessment of and their use of ICT-mediated information services such as real-time information; the use of different media (computers, mobile phones) for accessing ICT-mediated information services and if any changes in the choice of information channel(s) can be noted over time; and the self-reported effects of travellers’ access to ICT-mediated services. Study C, finally, included a survey to a subjective sample of travellers in Stockholm in order to investigate travellers’ attitudes towards and assessment of a co-modal travel planner, and if access to the travel planner resulted in any changes in the travellers’ travel behaviour in terms of e.g. choice of travel modes.
The results from Study A show that the motives among Swedish public transport authorities for introducing systems for real-time traveller information varied and, furthermore, that the motives were sometimes unclear. Whether the goals for the introduction had been met or not had, in most cases, not been addressed. No organisational changes were reported as a direct consequence of the introduction but might over time have triggered changes.
Study B showed that real-time information (at bus and tram stops and on the web) and travel planner information (on the web) were highly rated, also over time, and several benefits of access to the information were reported (Less stress, More efficient travel, Reduced waiting times, etc.). In addition, between 17% and 19% of the travellers reported to have increased their use of public transport as a consequence of having access to ICT-mediated traveller information. This numbers had risen significantly over time.
Study C showed that the initial assessment of the co-modal travel planner fairly positive but declined over a period of nine months. Nine per cent of the respondents claim to travel more with public transport as a consequence of having had access the co-modal travel planner but no change could be found when analysing actual travel mode choice.
In sum, both travellers and public transport organisations have been affected by introductions of systems for ICT-mediated traveller information. The goals of introduction are in some cases met but the implementation and adoption processes could become more efficient.
Intelligent Transport Systems
ICT-mediated traveller information
Co-modal Travel Planner
Real-time information system
VF-salen, Sven Hultins gata 6, Chalmers University of Technology
Opponent: Prof. Margareta Friman, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Karlstad University, Sweden