RIDES, TRIP, AND MOVES ON A BUS - INTERIM TECHNICAL REPORT NO 6

THE REPORT EXAMINES BEHAVIOR OF BUS PASSENGERS WITH REFERENCE TO THEIR SEATING PREFERENCES AND THE TENDANCY TO MOVE AMONG DIFFERENT SEATS DURING A RIDE. THE PURPOSE OF THE REPORT WAS TO ANALYZE HUMAN SPATIAL RELATIONSHIPS IN A PUBLIC CONVEYANCE. AN INITIAL PREMISE OF THE RESEARCH WAS THAT ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS AND THE SOCIOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS OF DISTINCTLY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ARE AS IMPORTANT TO MODAL CHOICE AS TRAVEL TIME AND RESPONSIVE ROUTING. TWO PSYCHOLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS UNDERLIE THIS ANALYSIS. FIRST, PUBLIC CONVEYANCES PUT RIDERS IN UNCOMFORTABLY CLOSE PROXIMITY TO ONE ANOTHER; FOR MANY, IT IS ASSUMED THAT THE PRIVACY AFFORDED BY AUTOMOBILES IS A DESIRABLE TRADE-OFF AGAINST HIGHER COSTS, DRIVING, AND PARKING PROBLEMS. SECOND, BUS PASSENGERS ARE BORED AND LACK DIVERSION DURING THEIR TRIP. THIS FURTHER ACCENTUATES THE DISCOMFORT OF NARROW SEATING AMONG STRANGERS. DATA IS RECORDED FOR TWO BEHAVIORAL PHENOMENA IN ON-BOARD SURVEYS OF FOUR DIFFERENT BUS ROUTES. THESE PHENOMENA INCLUDED: (1) CHOICE OF SEAT; AND (2) MOVEMENT FROM ONE SEAT TO ANOTHER. RIDERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS WERE BROKEN DOWN BY SEX, AGE, AND RACE TO DETERMINE WHETEHR CERTAIN RIDERS SHOWED A PROPENSITY TO MOVE. SEVERAL MAJOR FINDINGS WERE HIGHLIGHTED. A MAJORITY OF ALL PASSENGERS (55%) CHOSE AN UNSHARED SEAT; THOSE WHO HAD TO SHARE REVEALED A MARKED PROPENSITY TO CHOOSE A "SEATMATE" WITH SIMILAR SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS (IE. AGE, SEX, AND RACE). MORE THAN 1/3 CHOSE SEATMATES WHO WERE SIMILAR IN ALL THREE VARIABLES. IN ADDITION, WHERE OVERALL RIDERSHIP ON A ROUTE TENDED TOWARDS HOMOGENEITY, PERSONS OF DIFFERENT SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS OFTEN SEGREGATED THEMSELVES. FURTHERMORE, 83% OF ALL PEOPLE DID NOT MOVE FROM THEIR INITIAL SEAT. HOWEVER, THE LIKLIHOOD OF A PASSENGER'S MOVING ROSE TO 44%, DEPENDING UPON THE LENGTH OF HIS TRIP. FINALLY, THE AUTHOR IDENTIFIED CERTAIN SEATS AS BEING UNDESIRABLE -- THE MIDDLE OF SIDE-FACING, THREE-PERSON SEATS WAS ABANDONED BY MORE THAN 40% OF ITS OCCUPANTS. THREE GENERAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE RESEARCH FOR BUS DESIGN AND OPERATION ARE NOTED: (1) BENCH- TYPE, TWO-PERSON SEATS ARE THE MOST INTIMATE AND THEREFORE THE LEAST COMFORTABLE SEATING ARRANGEMENT, GIVEN THE PASSENGER'S NATURAL TENDANCY TO AVOID STRANGERS; (2) CLOSE PROXIMITY OF SEATS FROM FRONT TO BACK MAKES THE AISLE SEATS PARTICULARLY UNCOMFORTABLE AND MAKES EXITING FROM WINDOW SEATS UNWIELDY; AND (3) INACTIVITY ACCENTUATES DISCOMFORT. THE AUTHOR CONCLUDES THAT THESE PROBLEMS MAY CORRELATE WITH A NATIONAL DECLINE IN BUS PATRONAGE, IN FAVOR OF PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION MODES. THE AUTHOR RECOMMENDS A RE-DESIGN OF BUS SEATING ARRANGEMENTS AND PROVISION OF READING MATTER AS INITIAL STEPS TO IMPROVE THE PUBLIC TRANSIT ENVIRONMENT. /UMTA/

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • PROJ NO CAL-MTD-10
  • Corporate Authors:

    Sacramento Transit Authority

    ,    
  • Authors:
    • TOMLINSON, G
  • Publication Date: 1970-12

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00241772
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Urban Mass Transportation Administration
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Oct 9 1972 12:00AM