The demand impacts of train punctuality in great britain: systematic review, meta-analysis and some new econometric insights

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

literature review - literature review, mode - rail, place - europe


Demand elasticity, Late time, Reliability, Meta-analysis, Review, Rail demand


This paper updates and extends the systematic review and meta-analysis of Wardman and Batley (Transportation 41:1041–1069, 2014), which hitherto was the most comprehensive study of the impacts of punctuality on passenger rail demand in the literature. Whereas the 2014 paper covered 51 elasticities from 6 studies in Great Britain published between 2003 and 2011, this updated paper adds 11 subsequent British studies yielding a further 201 observations. The meta-model recovers a range of significant effects, relating to whether the elasticity was short versus long run, flow type and distance, season versus nonseason tickets, the relevant measure of lateness, and whether the purpose of the study was specifically the estimation of late time elasticities. Allowance was also made for study quality-related issues. The data indicated that, despite dynamic models being commonplace, there is some uncertainty as to how long the long run is. Alongside the meta-model, the paper also reports new econometric evidence that addresses some gaps in existing evidence and knowledge, especially in relation to functional form and non-linearity of effects. Findings from both strands of analysis would seem to suggest that rail industry guidance has tended to overstate the demand impacts of punctuality.


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