How transit improvements are perceived by passengers? Results of a before-after customer satisfaction survey




improvements of transports, passengers' satisfaction, structural equation modelling, importance-performance analysis


Although customer satisfaction surveys are widely utilized by transit agencies, there are limited analyses in the literature on the perception of passengers as a result of service improvements. A before-after study can help to evaluate the effect of changes from customer’s points of view and thus guarantee a continuous improvement in the service. In this paper, customer satisfaction was directly observed through a Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS) before and after certain changes. Furthermore, Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) is utilized to evaluate passenger’s perception of the service attribute importance. Finally, an Importance-Performance Analysis (IPA) is adapted to analyze the changes in satisfaction and importance from the passenger’s perspective on each service attribute. In both before and after cases, a consistent SEM structure is used. The follow-up IPA provides transit agencies with priorities to improve service attributes and helps managers to devote their resources to key attributes that matter to the riders. Metro line 3 in Tehran was selected as the case study which is 33.7 km long with 25 stations. Two surveys were performed one before (with the sample size of 300), and one after (with the sample size of 384) a set of changes the most important of which was a headway reduction. The SEM was developed with five latent variables of main service, comfort, information, protection, and physical appearance. This structure was assessed on both the before and after data collections and showed to be valid. Security at the station and security on board were the most important service attributes in both waves according to their factor loadings, while ethics and behavioral messages had the smallest factor loading and the least importance. Comparing the attributes in both surveys suggested that reducing the headway was effective, although it did not seem to be sufficient for enhancing the overall customer satisfaction and improvements need to be continued.


Abalo J., Varela J., Manzano V., (2007). Importance values for importance performance analysis: a formula for spreading out values derived from preference rankings. Journal of Business Research, 60(2),115-121.

Abenoza, R. F., Cats, O. Susilo, Y. O., (2017). Travel satisfaction with public transport: Determinants, user classes, regional disparities and their evolution. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 95, 64–84. DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2016.11.011.

Al-Amin, M., Islam, M. S., Ahammed, M. S., (2021). Service Quality Analysis of Intercity Bus Service of Pabna-Dhaka Highway. American Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering, 6(4), 116-127.

Bagozzi, R. P., Yi, Y., (1998). On the evaluation of structural equation models. Journal of the academy of marketing science, 16(1), 74-94.

Bentler, P. M., Chou, C. P., (1987). Practical issues in structural modeling. Sociological methods & research, 16(1), 78-117.

Bollen, K. A., (1989). Structural equations with latent variables (Vol. 210). John Wiley & Sons.

Browne, M. and Cudeck, R (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. Sage focus editions.

Das, T., Apu, N., Hoque, M. S., Hadiuzzaman, M., Xu, W., (2017). Parameters Affecting the Overall Performance of Bus Network System at Different Operating Conditions: A Structural Equation Approach. Transportation Research Procedia. Elsevier B.V., 25, 5059-5071. DOI: 10.1016/j.trpro.2017.05.206.

Dell’Olio, L., Ibeas, A., Cecin, P., (2010). Modelling user perception of bus transit quality. Transport Policy, 388-397.

de Oña, J. de Oña, R., Eboli, L., Eboli, L. Mazzulla, G., (2013). Perceived service quality in bus transit service: A structural equation approach. Transport Policy, 219-226. DOI: 10.1016/j.tranpol.2013.07.001.

de Oña, J. de Oña, R., Eboli, L., Mazzulla, G., (2016). Index numbers for monitoring transit service quality. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 84, 18-30. DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2015.05.018.

de Oña, J., de Oña, R., (2014). Quality of Service in Public Transport Based on Customer Satisfaction Surveys : A review and assessment of methodological approaches quality of service in public transport based on customer satisfaction surveys : A review and assessment of methodological’. Transportation Science. , 49(3), 605-622. DOI: 10.1287/trsc.2014. 0544.

de Oña, R., Eboli, L., Mazzulla, G., (2014). Monitoring changes in transit service quality over time, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 974–983. DOI: 10.1016/j.sbspro. 2014.01.132.

Dziekan, K., Kottenhoff, K., (2007). Dynamic at-stop real-time information displays for public transport: effects on customers. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice. 489–501. DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2006. 11.006.

Eboli, L., Mazzulla, G., (2007). Service quality attributes affecting customer satisfaction for bus transit. Journal of Public Transportation, 21-34.

Eboli, L., Mazzulla, G., (2011). A methodology for evaluating transit service quality based on subjective and objective measures from the passenger’s point of view. Transport Policy, 172-181.

Eboli, L., Mazzulla, G., (2015). Relationships between rail passengers’ satisfaction and service quality: a framework for identifying key service factors. Public Transport, 7(2), 185-201. DOI: 10.1007/s12469-014-0096-x.

Echaniz, E. Ho, C.Q., Rodriguez, A., dell'Olio, L., (2019). Comparing best-worst and ordered logit approaches for user satisfaction in transit services 130. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 130, 752-769.

Fayish, A. C., Gross, F., (2010). Safety Effectiveness of Leading Pedestrian Intervals Evaluated by a Before – After Study with Comparison Groups’. Transportation research record 2198.1,. 15-22. DOI: 10.3141/2198-03.

Friman, M., Fellesson, M., (2004). Service supply and customer satisfaction in public transportation: the quality paradox. Journal of Public transportation, 12(4), 4. 57-69.

Gärling, T., Eek, D., Loukopoulos, P. Fujii, S., Johansson-Stenman, O., Kitamura, R., Pendyala, R., Vilhelmson, B., (2002). A conceptual analysis of the impact of travel demand management on private car use. Transport Policy, 59-70.

Githui, J., Okamura, T., Nakamura, F., (2010). The structure of users’ satisfaction on urban public transport service in developing country: the case of Nairobi, Proceedings of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies Vol. 7 (The 8th International Conference of Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies, 2009). Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studie.

Habibian, M., Rezaei, A., (2017). Accounting for systematic heterogeneity across car commuters in response to multiple TDM policies: case study of Tehran. Transportation. 44 (4). 681-700.

Hadiuzzman, M., Das, T., Hasnat, M.M., Hossain, S., Rafee Musabbir, S., (2017). Structural equation modeling of user satisfaction of bus transit service quality based on stated preferences and latent variables, Transportation Planning and Technology, 40(3), 257-277. DOI: 10.1080/03081060. 2017.1283155.

Hair, J. F., B. W. C., Babin, B. J., Anderson, R. E., (2009). Multivariate data analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ [etc.]. Pearson Prentice Hall, New York, NY: Macmillan, 24, 899.

Hair, J. F., Anderson, R.E., Tatham, R.L., et al., (1998). Multivariate data analysis, Prentice hall Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Halakoo, M., Mesbah, M., Habibian, M., Mohamed, M., (2022). Modelling quality of service in a fixed route shared taxi (Jitney). Case Studies on Transport Policy, 10(4), 1988-2000.

Harreman-Fernandes, M., Diab, E., Cui, B., DeWeese, J., Crumley, M., El-Geneidy, A., (2021). Transit customer satisfaction research: is the customer always right?. Handbook of Public Transport Research, 57-69.

Høye, A., Laureshyn, A., (2019). SeeMe at the crosswalk: Before-after study of a pedestrian crosswalk warning system, Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour. Elsevier Ltd, 60, 723–733. DOI: 10.1016/j.trf.2018.11.003.

Hu, X., Chen, X., Zhao, J., Yu, K., Long, B., Dai, G., (2022). Comprehensive service quality evaluation of public transit based on extension cloud model. Archives of Transport, 61(1), 103-115.

Jöreskog, K. G., (1970). A general method for estimating a linear structural equation system, ETS Research Bulletin Series, 1970(2), 1-41.

Kline, R. B., (2005). Principles and Practice of Structural Equation Modeling. 2nd ed. New York: Guilford, 3.

Lei, P., Qiong, W., (2007). Introduction to structural equation modeling: Issues and practical considerations, Educational Measurement: issues and practice 26, 33-43.

Machado-León, J. L. de Oña, R., Baouni, T., de Oña, J., (2017). Railway transit services in Algiers: priority improvement actions based on users perceptions, Transport Policy, 175-185. DOI: 10.1016/j.tranpol.2016.10.004.

Madha, A., Salman, A. D., Hussain, H. D., Borhan, N., Riza Atiq, O. K. R., (2016). Analysis of travel behaviour in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia: An application of the theory of planned behaviour. Archives of Transport, 38.

Marsh, H. W., Hocevar, D., (1985). Application Of Confirmatory Factor Analysis To The Study Of Self-Concept: First-And Higher Order Factor Models And Their Invariance Across Groups, Psychological bulletin, 97(3), 562.

Martilla, J. A., James, J. C., (1977). Importance–performance analysis, Journal of marketing, 41(1), 77-79.

Merlin, L. A., Singer, M., Levine, J., (2021). Influences on transit ridership and transit accessibility in US urban areas. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 150, 63-73.

Mesbah, M., Sahraei, M., Soltanpour, A., Habibian, M., (2022). Perceived service quality based on passenger and trip characteristics: A structural equation modeling approach. Journal of Rail Transport Planning & Management, 23, 100340.

Morpace International, Transit Cooperative Research Program and Cambridge Systematics, (1999), United States, Federal Transit Administration, Transit Development Corporation, A Handbook for Measuring Customer Satisfaction and Service Quality (Vol. 47). Transportation Research Board.

Municipality, I. and communication of Tehran., (2017). Statistical Report of Tehran.

Park, K., Farb, A., Chen, S., (2021). First-/last-mile experience matters: The influence of the built environment on satisfaction and loyalty among public transit riders. Transport policy, 112, 32-42.

Patel, R. B., Council, F. M., Griffith, M. S., (2007). Estimating Safety Benefits of Shoulder Rumble Strips on Two-Lane Rural Highways in Minnesota Empirical Bayes Observational Before-and-After Study, Transportation Research Record 2019.1, 205-211. DOI: 10.3141/2019-24.

Persaud, B. N. Retting, R.A., Garder, P.E., Lord, D., (2001). Safety Effect of Roundabout Conversions in the United States Empirical Bayes Observational Before-After Study, Transportation Research Record 1751, 1-8.

Pu, Z., Li, Z., Jiang, Y., Wang, Y., (2020). Full Bayesian Before-After Analysis of Safety Effects of Variable Speed Limit System, IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, 28(2), 1–13. DOI: 10.1109/tits. 2019.2961699.

Putra, A. A. Jinca, M.Y., Riyanto, B., Mulyono, A. T., (2014). The Satisfaction Analysis for the Performance of Public Transport Urban Areas, International Refereed Journal of Engineering and Science, 38-44.

Ryus, P., (2003). A guidebook for developing a transit performance-measurement system (TCRP Report 88)., Transportation Research Board: Washington, DC, USA.

Saeidi, T., Mesbah, M., Habibian, M., (2020). Sequenced Ordered Logit Model Considering Latent Variables for Determining Trip Satisfaction of Metro Passengers, Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 7 September, 755-766. DOI: 10.1177/03611981 20931846.

Shen, W., Xiao, W., Wang, X., (2016). Passenger satisfaction evaluation model for Urban rail transit: A structural equation modeling based on partial least squares, Transport Policy, 20-31.

Soltanpour, A., Mesbah, M., Habibian, M., (2018). Percieved service quality in urban rail transit: A comparison of Structural Equation Models, Paper presented at the Transportation Research Board 97th Annual Meeting Washington D.C, 1-18.

Soltanpour, A., Mesbah, M., Habibian, M., (2020). Customer satisfaction in urban rail : a study on transferability of structural equation models, Public Transport 12.1, 123-146. DOI: 10.1007/s12469-019-00223-y.

Stevens, J. P., (2002). Applied multivariate statistics for the social sciences (4th ed.). Hillsdale, NS: Erlbaum.

Sukwadi, R., Susanto, A., & Liang, Y. C., (2021). Airline service quality evaluation for Indonesian low-cost carriers based on Extenics innovation theory. Archives of Transport, 58.

Sun, S. C., (2018). Public Transit Loyalty Modeling Considering the Effect of Passengers’ Emotional Value: A Case Study in Xiamen, China. Journal of Advanced Transportation.

Tanka, J. S., (1987). How big is big enough? Sample size and goodness of fit in structural equation models with latent variables, Child Development, 134-146.

Wang, S. Fan, J., Zhao, D., Yang, S., Fu, Y., (2016). Predicting consumers’ intention to adopt hybrid electric vehicles: using an extended version of the theory of planned behavior model, Transportation, 123-143.

Washington, S. P., Karlaftis, M. G., Mannering, F., (2010). Statistical and Econometric Methods for Transportation Data Analysis, Second Edition. Chapman and Hall/CRC. DOI: 10.1201/9781420082869.

Wiley, D. E., (1973). Identification Problem For Structural Equation Models With Unmeasured Variables, structural equation models in the social science, Seminar Press, Inc United States of America, 69-83.

Wu, X., Jason, C., (2017). Using the Three-Factor Method to Identify Improvement Priorities for Express and Local Bus Services in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, No. 17, 02464.

Yuan, Y., Yang, M., Wu, J., Rasouli, S., Lei, D., (2019). Assessing bus transit service from the perspective of elderly passengers in Harbin China, International Journal of Sustainable Transportation 13(10). 761-776. DOI: 10.1080/15568318.2018.1512691.

Zehmed, K., Jawab, F., (2021). The performance of tramway service from the users' viewpoint: A comparative analysis between two Moroccan cities. Archives of Transport, 60, 7-21. DOI: 10.5604/01.3001.0015.5223.






Original articles

How to Cite

Sahraei, M., Mesbah, M., Habibian, M., Saeidi, T., & Soltanpour, A. (2023). How transit improvements are perceived by passengers? Results of a before-after customer satisfaction survey. Archives of Transport, 65(1), 56-66.


Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 > >> 

Similar Articles

1-10 of 247

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.