Two pictures next to each other: on each a tram, 4 people: two are black and two gray. The black people each have speech bubbles. In the upper right of the picture you can see a person in front of a monitor.

Enhancing waiting times with interactive technology offers

The project aims at developing a web-based, provider-oriented toolbox which helps transport companies and providers to select (technology-based) interactive applications for stations with different characteristics and features. Objective requirements concerning interactive services in waiting areas of public transport have been determined in extensive field tests and surveys. The effect of different interactive services on the perceived waiting time was also tested. Interactive services with the most positive user responses and a contribution to the reduction of the subjective waiting times have been identified differentiated by user groups, the characteristics of stations and infrastructure.

a large black monitor placed behind a bus stop

The survey of travelers shows a clear preference for optical services, regardless of age of the respondents. Offers for sports activities at stations will be rejected by all users equally. Games which require the active participation and a public exhibition will be accepted only at stations with low frequency. The use of paper games is only reasonable at stations with lighting and weather protection. Experts supported the discussion of the results during a workshop. The experts confirm that optical offers will be welcomed by passengers and that other installations receive a critical response. The discussion showed that passengers expect information about the waiting time and therefore dynamic passenger information at stations are more important than other additional services.

The results of the field test analysis show differences between the locations. Both the number of interactions with the "WAIT-o-mate" and the estimated waiting time depend on the site. In general less people use the “WAIT-o-mate” at busy stations compared to stations with low passenger frequency. Individuals were less interested than groups. Younger people showed higher usage than older ones. The most popular program was "communication". In general, the subjective waiting times were estimated to be shorter. The interaction with the ”WAIT-o-mate” influences the perception of waiting time. This is also location-dependent. A subjective shortening as well as lengthening of the waiting time is possible. This doesn’t mean that subjective longer waiting times are always perceived as uncomfortable.


A. Millonig, M. Sleszynski, M. Ulm: "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing: Waiting Time Perception in Public Transport"; Vortrag: Intelligent Transportation Systems Conference 2012, Anchorage (USA); 16.09.2012 - 19.09.2012; in: "2012 15th International IEEE Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems", IEEE (Hrg.); IEEE, CFP12ITS-USB (2012), ISBN: 978-1-4673-3062-6; 6 S.,