This report finalises the research collaboration between Chiltern Railway and the Centre for Transport and Society, University of the West of England (UWE) for the project ‘Continuously Connected Customer’, which was funded by the RSSB through TOC15 from May 2016 to February 2018.
The project has investigated the impact of free WiFi on how rail passengers’ connect to the Internet on trains (Chiltern Railway) and what they do with their travel time.
It is the first study of WiFi on trains in the UK, and possibly globally, that investigates actual passenger behaviour; preceding Government commissioned work used Stated Preference to predict how much passengers would pay for improved connectivity (phone and Internet).
It is also unique in testing out different data allowances in the field. Chiltern Railways ran two 20 week trials on its mainline route between Birmingham and London Marylebone increasing the free WiFi offer from 20MB firstly to 75MB and secondly to 125MB. Chiltern Railways ran a third trial on its commuter route between Aylesbury and London Marylebone offering passengers 20MB for the first time.
The main findings are based on evidence from over 5000 survey responses and 54 qualitative interviews, plus additional analysis of relevant tweets and integration of WiFi use data from the WiFi supplier Icomera. The research design is outlined in section 2. Externally produced data was not made available to the research team to fully investigate all the research questions; however, the data does give important new insights.
Interim reports have been provided to the RSSB, and form the appendices to this report. The interim reports provide all the data tables and full discussion of the analysis.
The report focuses on three key issues in evaluating the increased data allowances:
1. How passengers connect to the Internet – free WiFi and mobile data (section 3)
2. What passengers do with their time and the importance of connectivity (section 4)
3. The broader journey experience and customer satisfaction (section 5)
Insights from the analysis also provide indicative insights into the timing of journeys and modal choice.
Jain, J., Bartle, C., & Clayton, W. Continuously connected customer: Final project report