Characterization of Transit Ride Quality

Strategies often proposed to combat the growing traffic congestion problems of urban environments target enhancements to increase the use of bus transit. Therefore, service providers are keen to identify and understand factors that could attract more transit riders. Other than affordability, most researchers explored convenience and stress factors such as schedule uncertainty, waiting time, travel time, crowding, noises, and smells. However, few studies evaluated the significance of ride quality. The high cost to collect and analyze roughness data likely deters such studies. This work developed a low-cost smartphone based method and associated data transforms to characterize ride quality for non-uniform speed profiles. The method distinguished between vibrations induced from road unevenness and operator behavior. The authors validated the accuracy of the method by conducting surveys to characterize the perceived roughness intensities from buses traveling routes of distinctly different roughness levels. The surveys found that smooth rides mattered to most passengers, and that rough rides could even lead to some loss of ridership. Additionally, the authors proposed a theory of roughness acclimation and provided some evidence that unlike objective measurements, subjective assessments of ride quality could lead to significant biases and inconsistencies.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute

    North Dakota State University
    1320 Albrecht Blvd
    Fargo, ND  United States  58105

    National Center for Transit Research

    University of South Florida
    4202 East Fowler Avenue, CUT 100
    Tampa, FL  United States  33620

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Bridgelall, Raj
    • Hough, Jill
    • Chia, Leonard
  • Publication Date: 2016-8

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Figures; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 53p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01619057
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 21177060-NCTR-NDSU09
  • Files: UTC, NTL, TRIS, ATRI, USDOT
  • Created Date: Nov 30 2016 7:40AM