University of Twente Student Theses


A fresh look at train station cleanliness : Effects of litter on the floor and graffiti on attention and cleanliness perception.

Siepel, Janique G.M. (2017) A fresh look at train station cleanliness : Effects of litter on the floor and graffiti on attention and cleanliness perception.

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Abstract:Due to limited processing capacity of the visual system, there is no way that people process all stimuli present at the same time. Research indicates that environmental (dis)order (e.g. cleanliness, graffiti) is a key predictor of service quality and evaluation of the environment in general. The aim of this study is to evaluate how people distribute their attention across different environmental disorders on train stations of Netherlands Railways. The following research question was formulated: “What is the influence of several types of unclean environmental disorders (litter or graffiti) in a railway station on the passengers’ attentional engagement and overall station evaluation?” The optimal level of different environmental disorders was determined by performing an online questionnaire (n=517). Results of the first study were used as input for the main study. The main study was performed on the train station of Enschede (n=165), a 2 (litter on the floor vs. no litter on the floor) x 2 (graffiti vs. no graffiti) x 2 (passengers current state: waiting vs. walking) between subject design was used to evaluate the hypotheses. Respondents wore a mobile eye-tracker and were instructed to either stand still in one place or walk a predetermined route through the train station. After spending half a minute on the train station, respondents filled out a short questionnaire about their experience of the environment. The mobile eye-tracker recorded all (unconscious) eye movements of the respondents. Which resulted in unbiased data about the attentional engagement (i.e. fixation counts and fixation durations) of the respondents. It appeared, environmental disorders negatively influenced perceptions of cleanliness. Moreover, passengers looked more often and longer at graffiti compared to litter on the floor, graffiti negatively affected the evaluation of litter on the floor. In addition, it appeared that waiting passengers payed more attention to unclean environmental disorders compared to moving passengers. Conclusion The presence of both, litter on the floor and graffiti, negatively influenced the perceived cleanliness and the overall station evaluation of passengers. Graffiti received more attentional engagement (i.e. fixation count and duration) compared to litter on the floor. Moreover, graffiti affected the cleanliness evaluation of litter negatively. The current state of the passengers (i.e. waiting or walking) affected attentional engagement to unclean environmental disorders, waiting passengers payed more attention to environmental disorders than walking passengers. This study is limited in several ways. In practice, train passengers walk and stay during their journey. Future research in the field of attention could for example distinguish passengers with different travel motives (e.g. must or lust, run or fun) and frequencies. Practical implications For NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen – Netherlands Railways), the principal passenger railway operator in the Netherlands, a comfortable journey for the customers and the opportunity to spend time on a clean train station is one of the most important goals.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Nederlandse Spoorwegen, Utrecht, Nederland
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:43 environmental science
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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