Station Experience Monitor

Station Experience Monitor (SEM) – This instrument measures the station experience of passengers and users. It is used in the Netherlands, UK and several NODES demonstration sites. Most interchanges have a functional design. The lack of taking users’ travel and waiting experiences into account is often obvious. The Station Experience Monitor was developed to guide interchange designers, as well as operational managers, in their efforts to deliver a more pleasant, yet also valuable interchange. The scientific basis of this instrument is explained in the “Pyramid of Public Transport Customer Needs” to train stations. Since 2011, passengers have been interviewed at regular intervals about a large number of station and platform facilities, services and experiences.  All 406 Dutch train stations are included in the monitor. Experiences at the larger stations are measured every three months, while the smaller ones are gauged once a year. At every station, passengers are selected randomly when waiting at the station’s platforms. In order to have a good overview of the experiences during peak and off-peak hours, it is recommended to have about 300 questionnaires completed in total per station.

In addition to larger refurbishment and redesign projects at the interchanges, it has been found that often very simple, low-cost interventions can already have a large impact on the waiting and travel experiences of the interchange users. The present English version is a one-on-one copy of the questionnaire presently used in the Netherlands. The questions and weightings are based on lengthy experiments with the tool over time. The current instrument allows the results to be analysed and assessed correctly. Depending on the main mode of the station, “train” can be changed into “bus”, “tram” or “metro” station, if necessary.

NODES Station Experience Questionnaire

SEM is a valuable and helpful standard instrument which has demonstrated its added value in NODES projects for measuring, monitoring and comparing customer experiences on a European level. SEM has all the potential to become the European standard where it comes to measuring customer experiences at stations.

NODES strategic objectiveContribution
Enhance accessibility and integration ++
Enhance intermodality ++
Enhance liveability ++
Increase safety and security conditions ++
Increase economic viability and costs efficiency +
Stimulate local economy 0
Increase environmental efficiency 0
Increase energy efficiency 0

Good practice

Application of the Station Experience Monitor (SEM) in NODES

SEM has been applied at 12 different stations in 7 cities: Madrid, Rome, Budapest, Birmingham, Reading, Toulouse and Thessaloniki. Some of these stations have carried out more than one survey. The field research was carried out in the period June 2014-February 2015.

For comparing the various NODES interchanges, a ‘comparison’ is developed by taking the average of all the participating stations. The type of station (train, bus, tram, metro) is also an important determinant for the comparison. Since train usually is used for interregional travel and hence for long(er) distances, while bus, tram and metro are used more for regional or urban transport and hence for short(er) distances, this is why the stations are grouped into two types: train stations and the combination of bus, tram and metro (BTM) stations.

For both Train and BTM stations, the themes related to satisfiers (Ambience and Comfort) account for 45% in the assessment of the stations. At BTM stations, the emphasis is more on Ambience (33%) and for the train on Comfort (25%).

NODES Station Experience Monitor Benchmark Report

Beyond NODES, the tool is currently used across the Netherlands at all 406 NS train stations and at several interchanges in the UK. The monitor is currently available in Spanish, Italian, Greek, French, Hungarian, German and English. It can be easily adapted to other languages and the settings of any public transport operator in Europe.


Potential interchange performance improvement

The Station Experience Monitor helps to identify interchange performance in respect to customer experience. It gives an in-depth insight into what the traveller really wants. It allows management to focus interchange performance on what really matters, reflecting customer experiences and needs.


The use of the Station Experience Monitor requires rather limited resources. It requires for each measurement exercise:

  • Completion of questionnaires (at least 300) at platforms
  • Data entry
  • Analysis including some training to understand the “analysis” model
  • Presentation of results