Real-time passenger information systems for bus users are now common place with bus stops in major UK cities equipped with arrival countdown displays and several apps now providing similar information direct to the Smartphone. Real-time displays at stops are expensive to install and given the current rate of Smartphone take-up, there could be benefits from using Quick Response (QR) codes linking to adapted, mobile friendly, webpages displaying arrival times of buses. This paper reports on a QR code implementation trial on 44 bus stops in six distinct areas of Southampton, UK.
Each bus stop was fitted with a poster containing a unique QR code, linking to a website giving live bus arrival information taken from the Southampton traffic control centre. Two types of poster were developed (simplistic with minimal text, and a more comprehensive one) to understand what level of instruction was necessary for QR code use. The number of hits at each stop were monitored via the website and surveys of users through an on-line questionnaire (accessed via the QR code) and face-to-face interviews.
The results suggested that there was very little variation in the use of QR codes at stops by day of the week or between peak and inter-peak times but there were variations by geographical area. QR code use improved wait time acceptability and feelings of safety and well-being with the vast majority of users finding the system easy to use.
Gammer, N., Cherrett, T., & Gutteridge, C. (2014). Disseminating Real-Time Bus Arrival Information Via QR-Code Tagged Bus Stops: a Case Study of User Take-Up and Reaction in Southampton, UK. Journal of Transport Geography, 34, 254-261.