Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Study looks at security wait time in airports

I like how we study everything in the US with big studies at universities. Here is a study on security wait time in airports - seems mundane at first, but has some interesting facts including some socioeconomic factors.

A press release from Purdue says the "new study finds that people are willing to endure the wait for airport security screening, especially if delays are consistent among airports and at different times of day.

Findings also show that preferences vary between men and women, travelers in different income groups and other categories.

'The most fundamental finding was that wait time is important, but not the only major factor determining how well airline customers tolerate airport-security screening procedures,' said Fred Mannering, a professor of civil engineering at Purdue University. 'Another important finding is that passengers are more likely to be satisfied if wait times are consistent from airport to airport and at different times of day at the same airport.'

A paper detailing findings from the study appear in the Journal of Air Transportation Management.

The researchers used mathematical formulas in a "multinomial logit model" to calculate various probabilities based on data collected in national surveys. The surveys polled 828 air travelers in 2002 and 1,079 in 2003, after which the surveys were discontinued. The data were collected as part of the Omnibus Household Surveys, conducted every two months from January 2002 through October 2003 by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

The new study, however, suggests that travelers be surveyed annually because customer preferences may vary drastically from year to year.

Some specific probabilities detailed in the research paper regarding 2003 survey results showed that:

• Men were 3.9 percent less likely than women to be satisfied with the speed of airport-security screening;
• Passengers with a four-year college degree or a master's degree were 23 percent more likely to be satisfied;
• People earning more than $75,000 per year were 5 percent more likely to be satisfied; and
• Customers indicating that they were reluctant to travel after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were 17.9 percent less likely to be satisfied."