Understanding factors influencing public transport passengers' pre-travel information seeking behaviour

Godwin Yeboah, Caitlin D Cottrill* (Corresponding Author), John D Nelson, David Corsar, Milan Markovic, Peter Edwards

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper investigates factors influencing public transport passengers’ pre-travel information-seeking behaviours in a British urban environment. Public transport traveller surveys were conducted to better understand the journey stages at which information was sought and the information sources used. A multivariate explanatory model of pre-travel information-seeking behaviour was developed using binomial logistic regression. Explanatory factors considered include socio-demographics, trip context, frequency of public transport use, information sources used, and smartphone ownership and use. Findings suggest that travel behaviour (5 + trips weekly, and < 1 trip weekly), socio-demographics (unemployment/unknown employment), trip context (journey planning stages, mode of transport), and preferred information sources (Internet site, word-of-mouth, visits to travel shop/centre/library) were significant predictors of pre-travel information-seeking behaviours among surveyed travellers. While the final model found that bus users are significantly associated with the use of Internet sites as a source of pre-travel information, rail users rely significantly on a multiplicity of sources comprising Internet sites, word-of-mouth, and visits to a travel shop/centre/library. The final model suggests that metro (light rail) users tend not to seek pre-travel information. The odds of seeking pre-travel public transport information are 2.512 times greater for respondents who reported < 1 trip per week as opposed to those who reported 5 + trips per week. These findings are relevant for passenger information strategies deployed by operators and authorities and can be used to caution against a “one size fits all” strategy for travel information service provision. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-158
Number of pages24
JournalPublic Transport
Issue number1
Early online date12 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Open Access via the Springer Compact Agreement

The work described here was supported by an Innovate UK award to the SmartRouting project (Grant reference—102615). We acknowledge members of the SmartRouting consortium who have provided advice and support for this work: Pascal Simplice (Ayoupa Ltd); Nikki Spencer (Birmingham City Council); Ben Stewart, Max Stewart, Flora Bowden and Christine Fent (Caution Your Blast Ltd); Dr. Rafael A. Cepeda and EngD Darminder Ghataoura (InterDigital Europe Ltd). We would like to thank all anonymous participants who helped in collecting the primary sample for this research. We acknowledge support from the following transport operators during the field survey: the Midlands Metro, and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM—formerly Centro), National Express, Network Rail, and FirstGroup plc (Aberdeen).


  • public transport
  • pre-travel information
  • information-seeking behaviour
  • information sources
  • journey planning stages
  • Journey planning stages
  • Information-seeking behaviour
  • Public transport
  • Information sources
  • Pre-travel information


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