Passengers’ activities during short trips on the London Underground

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - subway/metro, place - europe, ridership - behaviour


Underground, Travel experience, Mobile information and communication technologies


The present study considers underground passengers and investigates the ways in which they spend their time during a trip of average length or shorter. Using a structured procedure that had been refined after a preliminary study, more than 1,700 passengers were observed in London. The results showed that even when the length of travel is very short (2–6 stops), underground passengers engage in several occupations, especially those involving the use of mobile Information and Communication Technologies. These occupations depend on the specific spatial and temporal conditions of the travel, as well as on gender and age. These results should be useful in designing travel services that enhance passengers’ experiences; they also suggest a criterion for comparing trips using different transportation modes (i.e., looking at the time point during the trip at which the ratio of active versus passive occupations changes).


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