Train-Bus Preferences

A 2005 paper by David T. Ory and Patricia L. Mokhtarian contains data on individual preferences for train and bus travel. Their study analyzes the characteristics of people who seem to enjoy travel, and under what circumstances.  The authors first review the reasons why individuals enjoy travel, and evaluate data from 1,358 commuting residents of three Bay Area neighborhoods. The results indicate that travelers’ attitudes and personality are more important factors than distances and travel times.

Data in the study indicates that many people enjoy riding trains, or at least feel neutral about riding a train, whereas most people do not enjoy riding a bus. Of the 1,358 people in the survey, 966 (71.2%) either liked or were neutral about riding trains, whereas 862 (63.4%) said they disliked riding buses.

See Table 2 (on PDF page 31) of the study below:

When is Getting There Half the Fun?

When is Getting There Half the Fun? Modeling the Liking for Travel, David T. Ory and Patricia L. Mokhtarian, Transportation Research 39A(2-3), 2005, pp. 97-124


April 9, 2012
Many public transport studies have found that potential passengers consider rail-based public transport to be superior to bus systems. Why is this? Two studies have been completed in Germany and Switzerland in search of explanations for this so-called psychological rail factor. In this article, these two studies are presented and discussed to introduce the schemata approach and to help identify differences of attributions towards rail- and bus-based public transport. The research found a psychological rail factor (i.e., a preference for using rail assum­ing equal service conditions) of 63 percent for regional train and 75 percent for trams compared to bus services….

Bus or Rail: An Approach to Explain the Psychological Rail Factor
Milena Scherer, ETH Zurich
Katrin Dziekan, Berlin Institute of Technology

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