Work by U of M researchers on how we perceive wait times at transit stops and stations—and how to make those waits feel shorter—was highlighted today by The Atlantic.
The study compared transit riders’ actual and self-estimated waiting times at 36 light rail, commuter rail, and bus rapid transit stations, bus transit centers, and curbside bus stops in the Twin Cities. It also explored how station and stop amenities—such as benches and shelters—affected perceived versus actual wait times. The project was led by Yingling Fan, Andrew Guthrie, and David Levinson and was funded by the Transitway Research Impacts Program.
- Waits at stops with no amenities are perceived as at least twice as long as they actually are
- Benches, shelters, and real-time departure information signs significantly reduce perceived waiting times
- The presence of a shelter—even a simple one—makes waits seem shorter
- The complete package of a bench, shelter, and real-time departure information signs nearly erases the waiting time misperception for transit
- Women waiting in surroundings they perceived as unsafe believe waits are dramatically longer than they really are
For more information: