Bus Seating in Arlington, Virginia: ART Passenger Demographics, Seating Preferences and Dwell Time Efficiency
Boarding, alighting and seating maneuvers were monitored on selected Arlington Transit (ART) bus routes in order to determine the link between passenger demographics, seating preferences and boarding and alighting times within the system. The data collection methodology employed digital stopwatch timings of boardings and alightings in conjunction with a coordinate-based spreadsheet seating chart tracking system in order to document passenger movements and seating occupancies. Passengers were visually profiled according to their ethnicity, sex, general age group and bulkiness. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to develop boarding and alighting models, and t-tests were used to isolate statistically significant differences between profiled groups in terms of their seating preferences and inter-group separation distances aboard the buses. It was observed that female passengers tend to sit closer to other passengers than males do, and that older female passengers have a preference for sitting in aisle seats and towards the lower level front of the bus - each of these preferences is linked with shorter boarding times. Males, in general, tend to prefer window seating to aisle seating, and this preference is linked with longer boarding and alighting times. It was also observed that younger passengers prefer less efficient upper level seating to lower level seating and that white passengers, on average, tend to sit closer to other white passengers on routes where whites are a minority in terms of passenger composition. Monetary fare payment was observed to contribute to longer boarding times than the use of a swipe card (e.g., SmarTrip® card).