Development of Rail Service Sensitivity Meter

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, place - asia, planning - service level, planning - service improvement, planning - service quality, operations - performance, operations - capacity


passenger expectations, Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual (TCQSM), Level of service (LOS), rail service sensitivity meter (RSSM)


Understanding passenger expectations is a major task for rail transit operators so that they can determine necessary service improvements and the need to undertake new resource planning projects. Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA), the commuter rail operator in Taiwan, is seeking an approach to identify customer expectations by types of services and by region. Level of service (LOS) as defined by the Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual (TCQSM) is a widely used approach to evaluate the performance of transit services. However, predefined thresholds from the TCQSM used to evaluate service quality without knowing customer expectations may not reflect actual passenger satisfaction. In this study, a rail service sensitivity meter (RSSM) was developed to measure passenger expectations accurately and quantitatively and to determine acceptable levels of rail service. The RSSM was implemented in the empirical study to determine passenger expectations in regard to an acceptable LOS obtained through the process. Results of the empirical study set the benchmarks of service quality attributes and indicate that TRA service performance is generally acceptable, but TRA should focus on improvements to passenger load during peak hours by lengthening current trains with additional seats or by providing additional train services. Through the RSSM process, operators can evaluate the gap between expected services and actual services as well as improve the system to ensure customer satisfaction.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.