Perceived and actual travel times in a multi-modal urban public transport network: comparing survey and AVL data

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, place - urban, mode - bus, mode - subway/metro, mode - tram/light rail, planning - surveys, technology - automatic vehicle monitoring, ridership - perceptions


Travel time perception, Urban public transport, Travel survey data, Vehicle location data


Perceived travel times of travelers are usually longer than actually realized travel times, implying that passengers’ experience of travel time savings is different from objectively calculated savings. This study provides additional empirical evidence on this topic, by comparing the passengers’ perceived travel times reported in an (online) survey with their corresponding actual in-vehicle travel times from Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) data. The case study involves the metro, tram and bus network of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. On average, travelers perceive their travel time to be 1.9 min (11%) longer than their actual realized travel time. The perceived values match the scheduled values slightly better than the actually realized values. Furthermore, we found a larger travel time over-perception for metro compared to tram and bus. This is a counter-intuitive result, since the metro has been found to have a less negative travel time perception than busses in the public transport choice modelling literature. When the travel purpose is considered, the leisure time purposes recreation and shopping have a significantly smaller travel time over-perception than work-related journeys. Opening a new metro line did not have a significant influence on the travel time perception of travelers in Amsterdam.


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