Examination of Traveler Responses to Real-Time Information About Bus Arrivals Using Panel Data

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, planning - surveys, planning - signage/information, technology - intelligent transport systems, technology - passenger information, mode - bus


University of Maryland, College Park, Traveler information and communication systems, Travel surveys, Travel behavior, RTI, Road transport informatics, Ridership, Real time information, Psychosocial aspects, Psychological effects, Psychological aspects, Patronage (Transit ridership), Passenger information, Panel surveys, IVHS, ITS (Intelligent transportation systems), Intracity bus transportation, Intelligent vehicle highway systems, Intelligent transportation systems, Customer satisfaction, Campus transportation, Bus transit, ATT, Advanced transport telematics


In recent years, a considerable amount of money has been spent on intelligent transportation system projects for public transportation, most notably, real-time transit information systems. To date, strikingly few studies that have empirically investigated the effects of deployment of such a system have been completed. This paper examines the effects of real-time transit information on travelers’ behavior and psychology. The 2006–2007 University of Maryland (College Park) campus transportation panel survey data were used to examine how travelers responded to the ShuttleTrac system, a newly implemented real-time bus arrival information system for the university’s shuttle service. Two fixed-effects models and five random-effects-ordered probit models were estimated to sort out the causal relations between ShuttleTrac system information use and two behavioral and five psychological indicators, respectively. It was found that use of the real-time information significantly increased the riders’ feelings of security about riding the bus after dark and boosted their overall level of satisfaction. However, it was not found to significantly increase travelers’ shuttle trip frequency, at least in the short term, perhaps because of a lack of enough time for adjustment of travel behavior. These results suggest that although transit agencies and scholars should not be too optimistic about achieving an immediate ridership increase by providing real-time information to travelers, they can expect positive psychological responses from transit riders.