Travel satisfaction with public transport: Determinants, user classes, regional disparities and their evolution

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, place - urban, place - universities, place - rural, planning - service quality, ridership - perceptions


Customer satisfaction, Service quality, Public transport, Market segmentation, User profiles, Geographical variations


Increasing public transport ridership while providing a service that better caters to individual travelers poses an important goal and challenge for society, particularly public transport authorities and operators. This study identifies and characterizes current and potential users of public transport in Sweden and identifies the most important determinants of travel satisfaction with Public Transport services for each segment of travelers. In addition, it investigates the changes over time of attribute importance among the different segments and the inter-segment geographical variation of overall satisfaction. The analysis is based on a dataset of almost half a million records. Travelers were clustered based on their socio-demographics, travel patterns and accessibility measures to enable the analysis of determinants of satisfaction for different market segments. The cluster analysis results with five segments of Swedish travelers include: (i) inactive travelers; (ii) long distance commuters; (iii) urban motorist commuters; (iv) rural motorist commuters and; (v) students. By contrasting satisfaction with the importance of each quality of service attribute, three key attributes that should be prioritized by stakeholders are identified: customer interface, operation, network and length of trip time. Interestingly, the results suggest an overall similarity in the importance of service attributes among traveler segments. Nevertheless, some noticeable differences could be observed. The quality of service attributes’ importance levels reveal overall changes in appreciations and consumption goals over time. The more frequent public transport user segments are more satisfied across the board and are characterized by a more balanced distribution of attribute importance while rural motorist commuters are markedly dissatisfied with service operation attributes. This work can help authorities to tailor their policies to specific traveler groups.


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


Transportation Research Part A Home Page: