Passengers’ valuations of train seating layout, position and occupancy

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, place - europe, ridership - forecasting, ridership - demand, operations - crowding


Seating layout, Crowding, Stated Preference, Rail, Time multiplier valuations, Revealed Preference


The layout of seating within train carriages, of which there are numerous possibilities, and also the occupancy of that seating can be expected to impact on passengers’ experiences of a train journey. However, there is very little evidence on how rail passengers value different seating experiences. On the back of exploratory research, and including attitudinal evidence, this paper provides significant and original insights into rail passengers’ preferences in this area. The primary evidence base is a Stated Preference experiment, complemented by a novel Revealed Preference exercise that uses CCTV footage to observe where rail passengers prefer to sit.

The valuations, expressed as travel time multipliers, obtained from the Stated Preference exercise are generally plausible and exhibit a wide range according to the precise seating configuration, the occupancy level and the seating position within a layout. The innovative Revealed Preference analysis provides an encouraging degree of support to the Stated Preference results which, reassuringly, can themselves be reconciled with related valuations widely used in the railway industry in Britain and also the findings of the exploratory and attitudinal research. Whilst we are interested here solely in obtaining valuations, we demonstrate how they can be used in demand forecasting.


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


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