Increasing Rail Demand by Improving Multimodal Information and Ticketing: Results of the Night&Flight Case Study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - signage/information, ridership - demand, technology - ticketing systems, technology - passenger information, place - europe, mode - rail


Traveler information and communication systems, Travel models (Travel demand), Travel demand, Ticketing, Railroad transportation, Rail transportation, Passenger transportation, Passenger information, Multimodal transportation, Multimodal systems, Internet, Institutional barriers, High speed trains, Europe, Computer reservation systems, Case studies, Air-rail trips


Long-distance railway transport is more energy efficient and generates fewer environmental impacts than air and automobile travel. One strategy for increasing rail use is to introduce high-speed rail systems and other railway improvements; however, even with these capital improvements, rail travel may take too long for certain trips. Therefore, another strategy is to increase the use of rail for at least part of a trip (e.g., by replacing a short flight), which could be done by improving intermodal connections (e.g., flight-to-train connections at airports) or by using rail on the outbound trip and air on the return trip (or vice versa). In 2005, CityNightLine, a European night train operator, and Swiss International Air Lines developed a product that combined a night train trip with a flight. This product provided an ideal opportunity to evaluate the socioinstitutional barriers to intermodal journeys by eliminating the midjourney physical transfer present in other air–rail trips. The research surveyed users and nonusers to evaluate the socioinstitutional barriers to intermodal transport using a new product adoption structure. The research found that an effective Internet-based multimodal transport information and reservation system is needed to successfully increase rail travel. This system should provide accurate and complete information about all travel alternatives in a simple package and should enable customers to purchase a single ticket for the entire trip (including local public transport).