The passenger’s influence on dwell times at station platforms: a literature review

Ruben A. Kuipers, Carl-William Palmqvist, Nils O.E. Olsson, Lena Winslott Hiselius, Transport Reviews, February 2021

Dwell time delays, although small in nature, can accumulate to a large delay over the entire journey of a train. It is, however, difficult to precisely know the amount of time which is required at stations due to the inherent variance in human behaviour. Furthermore, planning practices do not seem to capture the dynamic nature of the dwell time process. The current literature review focusses on the influence that passengers have on the length and variance of dwell times at stations. More specifically, this study focusses on the underlying causes for the distribution of passengers along a platform while waiting for the train to arrive at the station and their behaviour during the boarding and alighting process. As part of this review, two databases were systematically searched, and backwards snowballing techniques were applied. To ensure the quality of the included literature, a systematic quality appraisal was carried out. The findings show that measures related to platform management and changes to train operations have the potential to play a substantial role in reducing the variance in dwell times, as well as improvements in the provision of information to travellers. Such measures also allow for a more solution-oriented approach. However, the actual benefits of such measures need further studying. The findings also show that the distribution of passengers and the behaviour of passengers during the boarding and alighting process are connected and should thus be addressed as a whole rather than separate aspects. The majority of the studies included in this review did, however, not focus on both elements in conjunction. There is thus a need for future studies into the effect of platform management measures where efforts must be made to better understand the impact of measures on both the behaviour and distribution of passengers.

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