Assessing Passenger Comfort and Capacity Bottlenecks in Dutch Train Stations

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - capacity, operations - crowding, infrastructure - station, infrastructure - interchange/transfer, mode - rail, mode - pedestrian


Transfer centers, Railroad stations, Rail transit stations, Pedestrian capacity, Pedestrian bottlenecks, Peak periods, Passenger comfort, Overcrowding, Netherlands, Level of service, Infrastructure, Crowds, Crowding


The performance indicator of transfer station crowdedness is one of the indicators that offers insight into the performance of the pedestrian transfer station infrastructure and the effects of adjustments (of the infrastructure, traffic demand, or the timetable) on this performance. Because the original method did not provide the expected results, this paper proposes improvements to the means of measuring and assessing this performance indicator on the basis of the levels of service defined by Fruin, complemented by the dimensions of time and frequency. The measurement plan stipulates that densities are used as the main indicator and that they can be collected by using either video or infrared sensors at a frequency of 0.1 Hz for an effective area of at least 10 m². The modified assessment method entails the identification of Levels of Service D (comfort bottleneck) and E (capacity bottleneck) only when they last longer than 30 s. Actual bottlenecks are indicated only when these levels of service occur more than three times during a peak period and last (in sum) longer than 5 min per peak period. Further improvements to the assessment methodology relate to the use of the effective walking area, including the shy-away distances between pedestrians and obstacles, walls, and so on, rather than the observed area. Also, flow directions appear to have a considerable influence on the level of service. The paper shows the results obtained by application of the methodology to one of the measurement locations.