Applying Affective Event Theory to Explain Transit Users Reactions to Service Disruptions

Transit systems are complex open systems susceptible to service disruptions due to variety of operational and infrastructure failures. Demand-side transit user reactions form an important part of the system resilience. This study proposes the Affective Events Theory (AET) to understand transit users' affective and behavioral reaction to service disruptions. The behavioral reactions are structured in accordance with Hirschman’s Exit-Voice-Loyalty framework. While service disruptions can cause passenger frustration, the behavioral response varies among complaints (voice), avoiding transit use on the next trip (exit) and continue as usual (loyalty). The collected data is a representative sample of 1,629 transit users from Innsbruck (Austria). Exploratory factor analysis followed by an estimation of a structural equation model served to validate the model framework. Perceived operator efficacy and low event frequency mitigate frustration of transit users upon event occurrence. Higher perceived operator efficacy is positively associated with better perceived network coverage, personnel behavior and service quality. Higher transit user frustration is related to greater complaint behavior (voice). In contrast, greater complaint behavior is associated with lower reduced transit use on the next trip (exit), meaning that voice and exit are substitutional behaviors. Individual and trip characteristics are correlated with both the affective and the behavioral reaction to service disruptions.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was sponsored by TRB committee AP015 Standing Committee on Transit Capacity and Quality of Service.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

  • Authors:
    • Sarker, Rumana Islam
    • Kaplan, Sigal
    • Mailer, Markus
    • Timmermans, Harry J P
  • Conference:
  • Date: 2019


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 18p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01697772
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 19-00616
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Mar 1 2019 3:51PM