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Publication type: Article in scientific journal
Type of review: Peer review (publication)
Title: A level playing field for comparing air and rail travel times
Authors: Sauter-Servaes, Thomas
Krautscheid, Thomas
Schober, Alexander
DOI: 10.21256/zhaw-3224
Published in: The Open Transportation Journal
Volume(Issue): 12
Issue: 2019
Pages: 48
Pages to: 56
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher / Ed. Institution: Bentham Open
ISSN: 1874-4478
Language: English
Subjects: High-speed rail; Rail transport; Airport waiting time; Travel planning; Travel time; Air transport
Subject (DDC): 
Abstract: Background: Shifting travellers from air to rail can reduce environmental impacts and is an important European Union goal. Online travel planning applications allow travellers to easily compare air and rail transport choices, however, they may not accurately consider time travellers spend at the airport or railway station since these depend on buffer times travellers use to protect against delays. Methods: This research investigated the actual time spent at airports and railway stations to analyse the accuracy of travel planning applications and help improve the quality of travel time estimates. The research used a travel time recording application to determine the time spent by passengers at airports and railway stations. Data was collected for 312 trips. The research was supplemented by an extensive literature review of dwell times and multimodal travel planning applications. Results: The research found that travellers spent an average of 157 minutes at airports and 32 minutes at railway stations. Comparing these results to travel planning application, the information shows that the applications significantly underestimate time spent at airports and slightly underestimate time spent at railway stations. The use of unrealistic airport waiting times in travel planning applications distorts traveller perception in favour of air travel. Conclusion: Therefore, railway operators should support the development of improved travel planning applications that better consider waiting times. Improving these applications would be much more cost effective than infrastructure improvements designed to save a few minutes of travel time.
Further description: The research project was funded by the International Union of Railways (UIC).
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): CC BY 4.0: Attribution 4.0 International
Departement: School of Engineering
Organisational Unit: Institute of Sustainable Development (INE)
Appears in collections:Publikationen School of Engineering

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