Are printed transit information materials a significant barrier to transit use?


Alasdair Cain

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - signage/information


This study investigated the extent to which the lack of ability to use printed transit information materials correctly to plan transit trips is a barrier to transit use. A total of 180 people were asked to undertake two transit trip-planning assignments, each requiring the use of a system map, two route maps, and two schedules.

The study found that only 52.5 percent of the sample, composed of both transit users and nonusers, was able to plan a transit trip successfully using standard printed information materials. The main problems existed at the latter stages of the trip-planning process involving schedule use (55.6% success rate). Although printed information materials were the most popular trip-planning media for transit users, more than half stated that they did not use this method to plan their trips.

Additional questioning suggested that a relationship between transit trip-planning ability and transit use does exist. However, it was also found that while lack of information material comprehension is a problem, it is not a primary barrier to transit use—none of the nontransit users cited lack of transit trip-planning ability as their main reason for not using transit. Furthermore, a wide range of other information resources is available for transit users to choose from if they are uncomfortable with printed media.


Permission to publish the abstract given by the Journal of Public Transportation.