Quantifying travellers’ evaluation of waiting time uncertainty in public transport networks

Sanmay Shelat*, Oded Cats, J. W.C. van Lint

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Downloads (Pure)


Although waiting times are inherently uncertain in public transport networks, previous research has primarily studied route choice behaviour under risk. Since understanding such behaviour is important to correctly model network flows and gain better understanding of traveller satisfaction, we propose a method to assess travellers’ route choice behaviour under natural ambiguity. Specifically, we devise a realistic route choice situation whereby travellers’ attitudes and perceptions towards waiting time uncertainty as well as the effects of situational contexts thereon can be quantified in terms of a certainty equivalent. The choice situation is contextualised in a stated preferences experiment to analyse the premium travellers in the Dutch railways are willing to pay for certainty in waiting time. Results indicate a significantly improved model fit and predictive value when accounting for waiting time uncertainty with travellers, on average, willing to trade-off more than 7 minutes of in-vehicle time to have certainty in their waiting time. Minor non-linear effects of elapsed waiting time and anticipated delays on the value of certainty are also found and heterogeneity analysis indicates that younger travellers tend to seek more certainty. The proposed method provides snapshots of travellers’ behaviour under uncertainties in a real-world public transport system and can as such be used to improve transportation models, provide more tailored travel advice, and be used to test the efficacy of different policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-222
Number of pages14
JournalTravel Behaviour and Society
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Certainty equivalent
  • Decision under uncertainty
  • Public transportation
  • Stated preference experiment
  • Waiting time


Dive into the research topics of 'Quantifying travellers’ evaluation of waiting time uncertainty in public transport networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this