Value of Punctuality on Suburban Trains to and from Paris

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - surveys, planning - signage/information, technology - passenger information, place - urban, place - low density, mode - rail, literature review - literature review


Traveler information and communication systems, Travel time, Surveys, Suburbs, Stated preferences, Reseau Express Regional, RER, Railroad commuter service, Passenger information, Paris (France), On time performance, Literature surveys, Literature reviews, Journey time, Human comfort, Commuters, Commuter rail, Comfort, Case studies


The research project under discussion aimed to provide an operational methodology to assess the perceived benefits of investments to improve punctuality of suburban rail services to and from Paris. A literature review, train surveys and counts, and a stated preference (trade-off) experiment have been conducted to obtain values of reliability. Also, a simple tool was developed to quantify the benefits of specific projects. This was applied in a case study to the Réseau Express Régional (RER) B Nord+ punctuality improvement project. The research indicated that an improvement in punctuality, expressed as a 5% reduction in the number of trains delayed 5 to 15 min, was worth about 4.6 min of travel time for commuters and students. Comfort appeared to be important, with a particularly clear dislike of standing in crowded trains. Information was also valued as worthwhile: explicit information about the duration of delays (in addition to information about the cause of delays) was valued similarly as a 10-min reduction in travel time. The RER B Nord+ case study indicated that total annual benefits of about €10 million were expected, beyond the €31 million benefits due to travel time savings (€1 = US$1.34 in 2007).