In December 2015, independent watchdog Transport Focus partnered with Populus to trial a new survey approach to capture how rail customers implicitly feel about their travel experience, how this impacts their behaviour and, indeed, the reputation and trust of the train operating companies (TOCs).
We surveyed a sample of commuters to capture their emotional experience of rail travel using the emotional icons within an ‘in the moment’ survey. Eligible participants were required to download a survey app to their smartphone that would ask a short one-minute survey twice per day (am/pm) about the emotional impact of their rail experience on that morning and afternoon.
The insights gained from the ‘in the moment’ survey helped management to effectively prioritise areas for improvement. They were used as the basis for workshops on how to deliver better information with TOCs and Network Rail. They also provided useful recommendations for how operators can contribute to passengers having a good day. By capturing these ‘in the moment’ experiences using innovative new methodologies the industry can understand how changes in the service can help improve the emotional experience of rail travel.