How in-vehicle activities affect work commuters’ satisfaction with public transport

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

ridership - perceptions, place - europe, mode - bus, mode - rail, mode - subway/metro, mode - tram/light rail


Subjective well-being, Travel satisfaction, Public transport, Activities


Research has recently questioned the commonly held opinion that travel time is valued as negative, arguing that engagement in activities during travel may make these trips more enjoyable or productive. Satisfaction with travel has to date been assessed using utility-based models or measures of productivity of the trip. The present study is the first to assess the influence of activities performed during travel on public transport users’ subjective well-being. To this end, a survey was conducted in Sweden in 2010 in which activities during the work commute by public transport were recorded and subjective well-being during travel was measured retrospectively using the Satisfaction with Travel Scale (STS). Results show that talking to other passengers has the strongest positive effect on STS, whereas activities related to entertainment and relaxation lead to lower STS, possibly since engaging in these activities reflect unsuccessful attempts to abate boredom. In addition, it is found that activities during travel may have a more positive effect on the commute back home, suggesting that the mindset related to the destination influences travel satisfaction.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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