Towards a holistic approach to the travel experience: A qualitative study of bus transportation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - europe, ridership - attitudes, ridership - perceptions


Travel experience, Holistic, Qualitative, Cognitive, Sensorial, Emotional


This article presents the results of a qualitative study with 49 bus passengers in two types of mid-distance journeys: (1) experience-centric trips (touristic), and (2) utilitarian trips (intercity transportation). Study results show that passenger travel experience encompasses all moments of contact with the transportation service, as well as aspects that are not in direct control of the transportation provider. The results also reveal that the travel experience involves a holistic set of customer responses that go beyond cognitive assessments, also comprising sensorial and emotional components. The comparison of the two transportation settings shows that both experience-centric and utilitarian trip passengers have a holistic view of the travel experience, although focusing on different experience drivers and customer responses. These findings indicate that transport providers and planners should pay attention to the overall customer travel experience from a holistic view, and that transportation services should be carefully designed and managed in a systemic way.


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


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