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Requirements for a Computerised Rail Passenger Service Information System – Summary of Results and Conclusions\ud from the Project.

By F. Ghahri-Saremi and C.A. Nash

Abstract

This paper consists of three main sections. In the first, we summarise the results of surveys of enquiries made at railway stations and telephone enquiry bureaux. These have been presented in detail in Working Papers 206 and 207. Then we consider the accuracy of the replies given to enquiries in a sample of 252 cases. There appear to be 9 clear errors, with a number of possible futher ones. By contrast, the pilot computerised system developed on behalf of 8R made 4 mistakes, of which 3 appear to be explicable as database errors or lack of walk links. The following section gives details of a survey of users of the Prestel terminals provided for direct use by the public at Kings Cross. Most users were able to find the information they required, although there was some criticism on grounds of slow response and complexity. Users tended to be male and on average younger than enquirers at the information desk; some if the latter were resistant to the idea of obtaining information from a computer rather than from a person. Finally, we present our overall conclusions from the project. It appears to us that the benefits of a computerised system are limited because of the simplicity of a large proportion of enquiries, and the speed and accuracy with which they are answered. Neverthe- less, computerised systems do afford the possibility of providing faster, more accurate and more complete information at reduced cost in terms of manpower. These advantages would be greatest for a system which was sufficiently user friendly to be accessed directly by passengers, although for the forseeable future the proportion of people undertaking transactions that are not readily computerised or who prefer to ask someone means that this could only be a way of reducing demand on the information desk rather than of replacing it entirely

Publisher: Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds
Year: 1985
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:2343

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