Perception of Quality at Stations: a New Method for Calculating the Experienced Value of Quality



Perception of Quality at Stations: a New Method for Calculating the Experienced Value of Quality

Authors

M van Hagen, Dutch Railways, NL; P Scheffer, PRORAIL, NL

Description

In this paper we show calculations of the value of the customer perception of quality at stations. A novel feature of the methodology used is that we combined existing methods with the aim of calculating the value perception of quality at stations

Abstract

The redevelopment of an inner-city railway station area is a complex affair. In the Netherlands almost every self-respecting city is involved in an on-going process of redevelopment of its main station area. Most of these redevelopment processes are characterized by long time spans, setbacks, delays and even abandonment. It seems that the complexity, which originates in part from the multi-purpose characteristics of these areas, makes their redevelopment hard to manage. We talk about huge investments and traditionally, most money is invested in more capacity en acceleration of the train journey. On the other hand it is hard to convince management to invest in quality enhancement, hence the revenues are not always clear.

This paper presents recommendations for calculating the experience value in railway stations. Passengers and their demands are our starting point. Since stations are not the most inviting of places, passengers in a hurry, or waiting patiently for their trains, do not really value the time they spend in them. The role of stations in spatial networks and in individual travel arrangements is open for improvement.

In this paper a novel feature of the methodology used is that we combine existing methods with the aim of calculating the value perception of quality at stations. We show calculations of the value of the customer perception of quality at stations. The literature reveals only a few such examples. These existing and validated methods are:
- Value Of Time,
- Time perception factors
- Customer opinion
Value Of Time: In addition to the actual time involved, every activity can be assigned a "value of time". Not every experience is a pleasant one, and unpleasant experiences appear to last longer than pleasant ones. The evaluation of a station area by the train passenger is a combination of the quality of the transportation opportunities and the level of facilities available when passing through. Transforming the waiting time at the station into useful, enjoyable or pleasant time adds value to the train journey.

Time perception factors: Research shows that how people's value time varies between the different stages of a journey. For example a distinction can be made between "in-train" time, time in access and egress modes (cycle, bus, tram, metro), and transfer time. The in-train time is valued twice as highly as access and egress time and three times more highly than transfer time. So it looks efficient to invest in the stages were the value is the lowest: at the stations.

Customer opinion: The Dutch Railways measure since 1995 the opinions of travellers about the train journey and the quality of the station. These figures express if people feel happy at a station (high score) or not (low score).

Combining the three methods makes it possible to express experience value in real money. The calculations are a first step towards an integrated calculation of quality perception. The results however are surprising. It appears that the station is a very important phase in a passengers journey and that a small enhancement of the perception leads to a very considerable socio-economic value for society as a whole. A small change in the perception of station quality is worth millions of Euros.

Publisher

Association for European Transport