Communicating Something Confidential while Travelling by Train: The Use of a Telephone Conversation Versus Silent Modes

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - behaviour, ridership - old people, mode - rail


Trains, Texting, Text messaging, Structural equation modeling, SMS (Short message service), Short message service, Railroad trains, Passengers, Mobile telephones, Human behavior, Decision making, Confidentiality, Behaviour, Behavior, Age


This paper investigates factors that affect train travelers? intentions to communicate with distant people while traveling, particularly the decision-making process that leads to the intention to choose either an (audible) mobile phone or a (silent) text message/e-mail for a confidential conversation. An approach that is related to the extended model of goal-directed behavior (EMGB) is applied. Structural equation modeling results indicate that past text messaging behavior, the desire to communicate, the perceived efficacy and controllability influence the intention to conduct a confidential phone conversation on the train. The influence of the social environment (e.g. eavesdropping) seems to be less important. Several EMGB constructs are strongly influenced by age. Older respondents appear to have more negative attitudes towards telephoning while traveling by train, and find it more difficult to call other people in such a situation. Younger travelers appear to more often use silent modes, but are also less concerned about being overheard when using the mobile phone than older travelers.