Using AHP to measure the perception gap between current and potential users of bus services

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - europe, planning - surveys, ridership - perceptions


analytical hierarchy process, user perception, bus services quality


This study develops a multicriteria evaluation of user perception towards bus transit services and measures the gap in the perceptions held by current and potential users. A review of the transport quality literature indicates that both preference and satisfaction measures have been implemented to provide a comprehensive perception-based evaluation of bus quality. Although attempts have been made to evaluate user perception through a separate analysis of each (preference and/or satisfaction), the application of multicriteria quality measures are limited. A multicriteria quality measure not only offers more than just information on the daily experience of users but also knowledge of the internal process of quality evaluation (drivers/barriers). The multicriteria measure utilises the data of 512 questionnaires, whereby user perceptions were expressed through judgments of importance and satisfaction based on a set of 29 quality indicators classified into six attributes. Firstly, the study develops analytical hierarchy process (AHP) models to measure user preference. Secondly, a weighted perception index (WPI) of both preference and satisfaction is developed through a multicriteria model. Finally, multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) is conducted to identify the level of variation in the perception of both current and potential users towards bus service quality. The results show that although both current and potential users place a higher importance towards the same indicators, they do not share the same pattern of preferences (values and/or order). In addition, the study found that the interaction between preferences and satisfaction generated new patterns of subjective evaluation, and that these patterns vary significantly by user category.


Permission to publish this abstract has been given by Taylor&Francis, copyright remains with them.