Promoting passenger behaviour change with provision of occupancy information to help moderate train overcrowding: A cognitive work analysis approach

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, operations - crowding, ridership - behaviour, planning - signage/information


Cognitive work analysis, Train crowding, Occupancy information, Passenger behaviour change


Passengers' travel behaviour is one of the significant factors affecting train overcrowding. Train occupancy information has been introduced as a tool to stimulate passengers' behaviour change to ease in-vehicle crowding. However, there are limitations to this strategy as it often fails to consider other elements in the complex rail system that influence behaviour. This research provides insights to service providers to promote passenger behaviour change by revealing the behavioural constraints in the environment. Cognitive Work Analysis (CWA) was applied to systematically analyse passengers’ behaviour and related constraints in the environment. Specifically, Work Domain Analysis (WDA) and Social Organisation and Cooperation Analysis (SOCA) were conducted and presented in the forms of Abstraction Hierarchy (AH) and Contextual Activity Template (CAT). Results showed that a wide range of informational, navigational and physical support alongside provision of occupancy information could better encourage passengers to select and use less busy carriages and trains. Behaviour change goals are likely to be achieved more effectively when the constraints of the system are better understood.


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


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