How to Meet the Needs of Train Travellers? A Successful Customer Segmentation Model for Public Transport.

How to Meet the Needs of Train Travellers? A Successful Customer Segmentation Model for Public Transport.


M van Hagen, Nederlands Spoorwegen, NL


This study reveals six domain specific need segments which allow Dutch Railways (NS) to match their services on customer needs. The results have proven to be successful guidelines for service development and train or station design.


How to meet the needs of train travellers? A successful customer segmentation model for public transport
Mark van Hagen (Dutch Railways)

The Dutch Railways (NS) considers customers? needs as the starting point for the provision of her services. By knowing the needs of different types of travellers, NS can intensify or adjust her current services. Moreover, the range of services can be extended if certain needs are found to be unfulfilled. This study concentrates both on the functional and the psychographic needs of the train traveller. Based on the NeedScopeTM system by TNS Global, six domain specific need segments were identified as well as their size. We found the following types: explorer (11%), individualist (12%), functional planner (14%), certainty seeker (14%), socializer (25%), and convenience seeker (24%). For each domain, a traveller type was formulated to which NS can tailor her services. In addition, the study clarified the influence of different situations and times on customers? needs. The results of this research have proven themselves to be successful guidelines for matching NS services to customer needs in order to improve customers? train travelling experiences. NeedScopeTM has already been used to develop specific services on the train and on railway stations, and to design new train interiors and station environments. Moreover, the results of this study have been applied to shape communication and marketing campaigns. Finally, and maybe most importantly, NeedScopeTM allows all parties within NS to speak about her customers in a shared language. This language is embedded in the organization through a road show of presentations and workshops, but also through an inspiring film in which the six traveller types are typified. The film brings up the different types in recognizable everyday situations during a train journey, which helps primary service employees to understand and anticipate on different needs of customers.


Association for European Transport