A stated-preference intercept survey of transit-rider response to service disruptions

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, planning - surveys, ridership - behaviour


Emergency and disruption response, Transit, Stated-preference survey, Intercept survey, Resilience of operations


A web-based intercept survey was designed and implemented in order to capture the response of transit riders in the Chicago metropolitan area to a variety of service disruptions. Current transit riders were intercepted in the field from November 2017 through January 2018, according to a sampling plan based on local ridership information, in order to gain a representative sample for analysis. Each participant completed a questionnaire regarding the intercepted trip, along with demographic and travel experience information. The survey included a series of stated-preference responses where the current trip is randomly disrupted and alternative travel modes are proposed with service characteristics randomly altered from a baseline scenario. This was designed to understand individual trade-offs between various mode alternatives and travel plan modification strategies under a variety of scenarios. Altogether, 659 transit riders gave responses to 2626 different disruption scenarios. In general, a plurality of riders (49%) choose to continue using transit, either waiting for service restoration or using agency-provided shuttle service, although at a decreasing rate as the travel delay increases. Fewer riders, approximately 15%, choose to alter their activity patterns altogether, while 26% would alter their travel to use either a taxi or an alternative transportation network company (TNC). Having a more detailed understanding of the behavior of riders under various disruption scenarios should allow transit agencies to better prepare for service recovery and restoration after and during local disruptions.


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