Determinants of traveler satisfaction: Evidence for non-linear and asymmetric effects

Roberto F. Abenoza*, Oded Cats, Yusak O. Susilo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Classifying public transport service attributes based on their influence on overall traveler satisfaction can assist stakeholders and practitioners in introducing cost-efficient measures. To date most studies employed methods that were based on the assumption that the impact of service attributes on traveler satisfaction is entirely linear and symmetric. This study examines whether service attributes have a non-linear and asymmetric influence on the overall travel experience by employing the Three-factor theory (basic, performance and exciting factors). The analysis is conducted for different traveler segments depending on their level of captivity, travel frequency by public transport and travel mode used, and is based on a relatively large sample size collected for Stockholm County. Moreover, the estimated models control for important socio-demographic and travel characteristics that have been insofar overlooked. Results are presented in the form of a series of multi-level cubes that represent different essentiality of traveler needs which provide a useful methodological framework to further design quality service improvements that can be applied to various geographical contexts. Our findings highlight that a “one size fits all” approach is not adequate for identifying the needs of distinct traveler segments and of travelers using different travel modes. Furthermore, two-thirds of the attributes are consistently classified into the same factor category which entails important policy implications. This research deepens and expands the very limited knowledge of the application of the three-factor theory in the transport field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-356
Number of pages18
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Customer satisfaction
  • Public transport
  • Three-factor theory


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