Conference PaperPDF Available

Bus Stop, Platform, Departure Gate: A comparative assessment of transport environments concerning the interrelations of speed and waiting.

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Waiting in transport has often been discarded as a banal and detested niche of passengers’ time perception, moreover, as the “neglected Achilles heel of modernity” (Bissell 2007, 277). However, focusing on waiting in mobility reveals a hidden face of transport and unveils a most significant aspect of modern transportation experiences in which speed and waiting are closely interrelated. This paper aims to examine these interrelations of speed and waiting by an investigation of its spatial and material interchanges. Tracing the ‘temporal region’ of waiting to the most prominent touch points of fastness and slowness, a comparative phenomenological inspection of three different waiting environments (bus stop, train platform and airport departure gate) shall provide three suggestions regarding the relational dimension of speed and waiting. The paper finally concludes with some general thoughts on how the future of waiting could look like if it was acknowledged and accommodated as an integral “twin” of mobility (Hanson 2010: 6). Rather than its avoidance, a constructive appraisal of waiting might become a principle of a “post-rush mobility” paradigm, which recognizes waiting as an integral and yet activating part of mobility.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Page | 1
12th Annual Conference of the International Association for the History of Transport, Traffic
and Mobility (T²M), Philadelphia, September 18-21, 2014.
Bus Stop, Platform, Departure Gate: A comparative assessment of transport
environments concerning the interrelations of speed and waiting.
Panel: The Dialectics of Speed: Fastness, Slowness, Waiting
Robin Kellermann
Technical University Berlin
Abstract
Waiting in transport has often been discarded as a banal and detested niche of passengers’ time perception,
moreover, as the “neglected Achilles heel of modernity” (Bissell 2007, 277). However, focusing on waiting in
mobility reveals a hidden face of transport and unveils a most significant aspect of modern transportation
experiences in which speed and waiting are closely interrelated.
This paper aims to examine these interrelations of speed and waiting by an investigation of its spatial and
material interchanges. Tracing the ‘temporal region’ of waiting to the most prominent touch points of fastness
and slowness, a comparative phenomenological inspection of three different waiting environments (bus stop,
train platform and airport departure gate) shall provide three suggestions regarding the relational dimension of
speed and waiting. The paper finally concludes with some general thoughts on how the future of waiting could
look like if it was acknowledged and accommodated as an integral “twin” of mobility (Hanson 2010: 6). Rather
than its avoidance, a constructive appraisal of waiting might become a principle of a “post-rush mobility”
paradigm, which recognizes waiting as an integral and yet activating part of mobility.
I. Introduction: The significance of waiting in mobilities
Mobility, speed and acceleration are, for good reasons, considered most substantial parameters for
describing the evolution of modern societies (Lash and Urry, 1994; Borscheid, 2004; Rosa, 2005).
From the early 19th century, mass mobility and accelerated transportation most prominently
represented the modern devotion to revolutionize and overcome socially and physically the
restraining space-time trajectories of previous centuries. However, despite a two-hundred-year
journey of radically changing physical velocities and socio-economic temporalities (Virilio, 1977; Elias,
1984; Conrad, 1999), the experience of waiting as temporal stasis seems to have remained a sheer
inevitable constant and a fundamental reality of any modern transport practice. However, regardless
of its ubiquity and relevance for everyday passengers’ experiences, waiting remains “a temporal
region hardly mapped and badly documented” (Schweizer 2008, 1). Rather than conceptualizing
waiting as an inherent and interrelated element of mobility beyond traditional perceptions as simply
“a dead period of stasis or stilling” (Bissell 2007, 277), most examinations aim to find ways to
mitigate or eliminate this elusive and yet highly relevant phenomenon (Vozyanov, 2014). Thus,
regardless of its fundamental relevance for transport’s explicit time-sensitivity, waiting seems to
have been treated as a stepchild or even “the neglected Achilles heel of modernity” (Bissell 2007,
277), and amazingly we know very little about its natures, interrelations and historical negotiations
(Vozyanov, 2014). Social sciences as well as planning and transport studies driven subtly by the
societal order of productivism and (time) efficiency have largely overlooked or discarded the
phenomenon as a trivial and unproductive collateral damage or simply as a disutility” (van Hagen
2011, 11). The only examinations we find about waiting arise from marketing, psychological and
health studies. While the first intended to improve the service quality of (also transport-related)
Bus Stop, Platform, Departure Gate:
A comparative assessment of transport environments concerning the interrelations of speed and waiting. Robin Kellermann
Page | 2
waiting environments (Taylor, 1994; Baker and Cameron, 1996; Pruyn and Smidts, 1998; Sauter-
Servaes and Rammler, 2002; van Hagen et al., 2009), psychological and health studies focused mostly
on waiting patients in hospitals (Yates 1987; Thompson et al. 1996). Philosophical works have also
devoted significant efforts to engaging with the complex phenomenon of waiting (Gasparini, 1995;
Köhler, 2007; Schweizer, 2008). With very few exceptions, waiting has been investigated rather
implicitly in empirical or quantitative analyses, such as for instance in the study of passengers’
behaviors in public transport or phenomenological examinations of structures and formations of
waiting in service situations (Mann, 1969; Larson, 1988; Maister, 1985; Moran, 2004; Fuller 2007).
However, explicit historical treatments of waiting remain “extraordinarily rare” (Vozyanov 2014:71).
Fortunately, since the mid-2000s we are witnessing a slightly advancing attention on the topic within
the “new mobilities paradigm” (Sheller and Urry 2006; Urry 2007) that inter alia encourages an
understanding of mobility as social and relational, thus including considerations of stationary
immobility, stillness and waiting. As a result, this often overlooked mobility practice, has received
wider attention, but it is still marginal compared to its relevance (Paris 2001; van Hagen 2011).
Altogether, the mainstream rationale of waiting still implies that “as speed is of essence, a wait is
considered lost time” (van Hagen 2011, 5), thus we are still palpably lacking examinations of the
social, spatial and technological implications of waiting in the mobility context. However, since
modern mobility and transportation cannot be described sufficiently without taking into account the
relation of fastness and slowness, or more explicitly the complex temporal region of waiting, this
situation appears to be problematic. The primacy of the mobile as the more desirable relation to the
world (Bissell 2007, 278) will not allow to understand the entire nature of mobility.
Against this background, this paper aims to investigate the practice of waiting at its most prominent
material interchanges with the appearance of speed. Focusing on waiting in transport reveals not
only a hidden and yet significant face of transport, but also the very core of time-space interrelations
in which the traditionally favored concept of speed is integrated. By examining and comparing three
different waiting environments of three different transport modes (bus stop, train platform, airport
gate) with a phenomenological approach, this paper will come up with three theses on the
interrelations of speed and waiting. The non-representative selection of waiting environments
concentrating on the wait before boarding a vehicle shall illustrate how waiting is foremost
materially and technologically ‘embedded’ and ‘negotiated’ in different transport modes. The
observations culminate in an outlook of how waiting understood as a problematic and yet integral
part of modern mobility might look like in the future.
II. Comparative assessment of waiting environments
The main rationale of the following chapter is to enlarge the perspective of waiting with the help of a
comparative assessment of three contemporary waiting environments. Beyond traditional
depreciations of waiting as a banal, boring and vain condition of human being, these sketchy
comparisons of structure, materiality or use of technologies illustrate how the speed level affiliated
to the respective transport mode shapes the waiting environment in terms of material, technological
and social arrangements, and thus dramatically shapes the waiting experience. In this vein, waiting is
not just a dead container but is produced by a complex relation of the anticipated speed and
acceleration level.
Bus Stop, Platform, Departure Gate:
A comparative assessment of transport environments concerning the interrelations of speed and waiting. Robin Kellermann
Page | 3
The bus stop
Structure, Appearance, Materiality
Inner city bus stops provide a roughly defined waiting area for an anticipated short-haul
transportation. At least in most urban areas they include a small-sized, half-open and roofed waiting
shelter, which however is almost fully exposed to current weather conditions and the surrounding
urban environment. Mostly such bus shelters offer very limited seating facilities on plastic or metal
seat shells, arranged in a row of 3-6 seats. Their appearance is of a simple, pragmatic, functional and
sometimes improvised kind. They are designed as short-term halt containers that provide only a very
limited set of infrastructures. At bus stops, the traffic flows are bi-directional, as departing and
arriving passengers share the same space. The main (intended) waiting mode is standing. Regarding
materiality, bus stops and shelters provide a low range of “hard” materials, mainly metal and glass
elements.
Use of technologies
Bus stops and shelters comprise a relatively low use of technologies. Timetables, stop signs and the
shelter itself are low-tech facilities assembled in an already existing streetscape. In recent years the
low-tech appearance has however been enhanced by more advanced technologies (notably ICT) such
as digital live traffic information systems or modifiable advertisement boards. As contemporary bus
shelters developed to advertisement boards, they sometimes comprise a non-transparent sidewall in
the direction of driving and a transparent sidewall on the opposite side in order to see the bus
approaching. In contrast to similar structures, bus stops do not feature signals or announcements.
Duration of the wait
The material and technological configuration of bus stops determine them as spaces for a short-term
wait of approximately 5-10 min in average.
Social representation
Bus stops and shelters do not comprise facilities devoted to perform socially distinguishing modes of
waiting (e.g. waiting in lounges or at priority lanes). Based on their material and technological
constitution, they facilitate equalizing rather than socially distinctive modes of waiting.
Figure 1 - Inner city bus stop in Berlin, Source: Robin Kellermann
Bus Stop, Platform, Departure Gate:
A comparative assessment of transport environments concerning the interrelations of speed and waiting. Robin Kellermann
Page | 4
The train platform
Structure, Appearance, Materiality
Train platforms provide a clearly defined large-scale waiting area for transportation to local, regional
or international destinations. As raised structures between rail tracks, they are enormous in length
but narrow in breadth, thus reflecting the shape and directionality of the train itself. In their center,
platforms are at least partly roofed, but due to their half-open structure, they are however exposed
to weather conditions. As bus stops, most platforms provide only a very limited amount of seating
facilities, which, compared to a train’s actual capacity, indicate that standing may be the main
(intended or requested) waiting mode. Their appearance is of technical, artificial and yet strongly
organized character. Compared to bus stops, the isolation of platforms from the surrounding
environment lets the waiting passenger already find himself within a technological system rather
than within the urban fabric. Analogue to bus stops, traffic flows at platforms are bi-directional, as
departing and arriving passengers share the same space. Regarding materiality, platforms provide a
low range of “hard” materials used, mainly flagstone, metal and glass elements.
Use of technologies
Platforms reflect an advanced use of technologies; moreover, they are a technological artefact itself.
Clocks, (digital) displays, announcements, guidelines on the ground, CCTV, drainage, vending
machines, illumination and live traffic information systems as well as the adjacent rail-related
infrastructure of signals, tracks and overhead contact lines frame the experience of waiting as within
a rail-specific “machine ensemble” (Schivelbusch, 1987).
Duration of the wait
The material and technological configuration of train platforms determine them as spaces for short-
term and medium-term wait of typically about 5-15 minutes.
Social representation
In contrast to the train station’s interior, platforms do not comprise facilities devoted to perform
socially distinguished modes of waiting (e.g. in lounges or priority zones). Due to an ‘equalizing’
material and technological configuration, they do not aim to facilitate distinguishing social
representations.
Figure 2 Platform in München-Pasing, Source: Robin Kellermann
Bus Stop, Platform, Departure Gate:
A comparative assessment of transport environments concerning the interrelations of speed and waiting. Robin Kellermann
Page | 5
The Airport Gate
Structure, Appearance, Materiality
Departure gates provide a clearly defined mid-scale waiting area before boarding an airplane with
long-haul destinations of far more than 1.000 km on average (CAA, 2011). Apart from the airport’s
main flows and connecting corridors, gates are enclosed structures within the self-contained airport
building, which is independent from external weather conditions. Though gates, like platforms and
bus stops, may of course vary in design and interior, most of them intend to provide the appearance
of a lounge, a lobby or even a living room, including a suggestion of comfortable privacy and
classiness. Moreover, it is the only point in the airport where the passenger clearly comes to a halt
and may receive visual reference to the actual means of transport. In this sense, airplanes might be
considered departure gate extensions. Compared to the rest of the airport, departure gates are
relatively quiet, less artificial and less transitory. Regarding materiality, the use of “soft” materials
such as carpets, padded or leather seats and their combination with “hard” materials such as glass,
metal or plastics, is in sharp contrast to bus stops or train platforms. Gates provide a multitude of
seating facilities, which indicate that sitting is the main (intended or requested) waiting mode. Also in
contrast to waiting areas of other means of transport, passenger flows are one-directional, as these
places are used exclusively when waiting for departure.
Use of technologies
Departure gates reflect a sophisticated use of technologies. Waiting in airports is embedded in (or
enabled by) a high-tech structure with an omnipresence of screens, computer-supported check-in
counters, signs, digital clocks, air-conditioning, power-outlets, charging points, CCTV, illumination,
vending machines and a distinguished application of vocal announcements. Additionally, aircraft-
related infrastructures such as boarding bridges or tanker trucks appear - though outside the waiting
area - in sight of the waiting passenger, resembling the notion of being inside a machine ensemble.
Duration of the wait
The material and technological configuration of departure gates determine them as spaces for
medium and long-term wait of about 30-60 minutes.
Social representation
Departure gates strongly promote social distinction in form of how passengers are waiting. Priority
lines or ‘speedy-boarding’ zones perform special treatments of certain passenger groups, affecting
the wait and depicting waiting at airports as a means of social distinction.
Figure 3 Departure gate at San Diego Airport, Source: pgal.com
Bus Stop, Platform, Departure Gate:
A comparative assessment of transport environments concerning the interrelations of speed and waiting. Robin Kellermann
Page | 6
Table 1 - Comparative assessment of three waiting environments
BUS STOP
AIRPORT DEPARTURE
GATE
STRUCTURE,
APPEARANCE &
MATERIALITY
Small-scale roofed
structure with shelter
Half-open structure
exposed to weather
conditions
Appearance of
pragmatism and
functionality
Use of few different
“hard” materials
(glass, plastic, metal)
Very few seating
facilities (3-6 seats) in
row
Bi-directional flows
(boarding and de-
boarding share same
space)
Half-open structure
exposed to weather
conditions
Appearance of artificial
and technological
functionalism with a
“machine ensemble”
Use of few of different
“hard materials” (glass,
plastic, metal)
Low amount of seating
facilities
Bi-directional flows
(boarding and de-
boarding share same
space)
Mid-scale sub-structure
apart from the airport’s
connecting corridors
Enclosed within the airport
building, autonomous of
weather conditions
Appearance of a lobby or
lounge, suggestion of
privacy and less artificiality
Use of a multitude of
“hard” and “soft”
materials: carpets, leather
seats etc.
High amount of seating
facilities
One-directional flows (only
boarding for departure)
USE OF
TECHNOLOGIES
Low use of
technologies: time
table, digital live
traffic information,
no announcements
Medium use of
technologies: Clocks,
displays, announcements,
vending machines,
illumination
High use of technologies:
Omnipresence of screens,
signs, digital clocks and
vocal announcements, air-
conditioning, WLAN,
illumination, counters
APPROXIMATE
DURATION OF THE
WAIT
Short (5-10min)
Long to very long 2h
rule for international flights
SOCIAL
REPRESENTATION
Not facilitated
Facilitated by priority lines/
areas, ‘speedy-boarding
counters etc.
MAIN WAITING
MODE
Standing
Standing
Sitting
Bus Stop, Platform, Departure Gate:
A comparative assessment of transport environments concerning the interrelations of speed and waiting. Robin Kellermann
Page | 7
III. Observations and correlations
The selective (and certainly incomplete) phenomenological comparisons of three different waiting
environments might appear self-evident, but they reveal important observations of how the elusive
phenomenon of waiting before boarding is contemporarily integrated and handled in different
transport systems. Moreover, these comparative observations may allow inductive and more
theoretical assumptions regarding the question of how speed and waiting considered a negative
spillover of any transportation are interrelated.
The main principle of the fastness-stasis interrelation to be highlighted in this paper is that speed is a
huge organizational problem. Against this background, the level of speed performed by the affiliated
transport system impacts pre-boarding waiting environments in terms of its material and
technological configurations, and thus dramatically affects the waiting experience. Following this
principle, waiting needs to be considered far more than just a collateral damage of transport, but as a
unique formation caused by the anticipated acceleration level following the wait. As different levels
of speed demand different levels of control and prearrangements, the anticipated speed of the
transport system is the decisive factor for shaping modus, environment and experience of the
waiting passenger. More precisely, based on the above comparative assessments, the level of speed
shapes the experience of waiting in the following three proportions:
1. Level of waiting time duration
Firstly, the speed level of each transport system correlates with the duration of the waiting time.
Evidently, waiting for a bus makes up just for a little fraction of waiting for boarding an airplane.
While the slowness of busses and trains obviously creates spaces for a rather short-term wait of
approximately 5-15 minutes on average, the relative fastness of airplanes and the affiliated need
for increased pre-process arrangements generates much longer waiting times. In short, speed is
admired but rising speeds bear a rising organizational and time-consuming problems. In this sense,
differing speed levels demand different levels of pre-conditioning the waiting passenger in terms of
intermediate (control) steps, guidance, and technological organization. In other words, the faster the
passenger is physically moved, the more he has to wait to actually get there, which brings to mind
Paul Virilio’s notion of “dromological laws” according to which increases in speed increase the
potential of gridlocks (Virilio, 1977). On the other way around, the duration of waiting times can thus
be considered an indicator and analytical subject for the organizational complexities of each
transport mode. However, this opens up the paradox that only if the wait is relatively long, the
waiting environment appears to be well equipped and comfortable.
2. Level of formality and informality of the wait
Secondly, the speed level of the respective means of transport influences the level of formalization of
the wait. When e.g. comparing bus stops with airports (as the two most opposed related speed
levels), waiting passengers at usual bus stops face a rather limited set of conventions. In the absence
of a multitude of waiting facilities, they are, on the one hand, more or less left alone’, but therefore
Bus Stop, Platform, Departure Gate:
A comparative assessment of transport environments concerning the interrelations of speed and waiting. Robin Kellermann
Page | 8
rather free to move or to position themselves. Besides just finding a roughly defined waiting area,
which often overlaps with other areas and becomes indistinct within the surrounding urban fabric,
passengers do not find many restricting facilities that might discipline or control them to stop, stay or
to come to a halt. As a result, compared to a departure gate in an airport, waiting at a bus stop
appears to be by far more informal. In contrast, waiting at a departure gate of an airport appears to
be rather formalized by a multitude of waiting facilities such as a plurality of seats, couches, screens
to look at or announcements that remind passengers to do (or to undo) certain activities. As Robert
Harley argues, beyond their comfortable function, such facilities could also be considered to be
pushed to wait and to be still: “Everywhere in Junkspace [Rem Koolhaas’ notion of an airports spatial
character] there are seating arrangements, ranges of modular chairs, even couches, as if the
experience Junkspace offers its consumers is significantly more exhausting than previous spatial
sensations” (Harley 2011, 40). Gillian Fuller even considers the functional significance of temporal
stillness as a precondition to organize globalized mobility: “From the packaging of clothes in fixed
containers to strapping your belt tight and low stillness and all its requisite activities, technologies
and behaviours are fundamental to the ‘flow’ architectures that organize the motion of the
globalizing multitudes of today” (Fuller 2008, 63). In this respect, departure gates implicitly discipline
the waiting passenger to stop and rest, while ironically he soon is supposed to be accelerated to
high-speed. Thus, waiting areas in airports due to the affiliated speed level of airplanes appear as
formalized conditional spaces of control, while waiting areas at bus stops appear rather
unconventional, low-controlled spaces of relatively self-organized and liminal character. This speed-
related difference also applies to the potential of performing different social representations through
waiting. While bus stops or train platforms do not facilitate different representational waiting spaces
due to their rather ‘equalizing’ material and technological configurations, departure gates promote
social distinction in form of priority lines or ‘speedy-boarding’, which affects the wait and – with
rising speed level depicts waiting as a means of social distinction.
3. Level of information density and use of technologies
A third dimension in which the affiliated speed level of the transport system becomes a pivotal factor
for shaping waiting environment and experience appears in the level of information density and the
use of technologies. Based on the above brief phenomenological assessments, it becomes obvious
that the higher the speed of the transport system, the more the waiting passenger receives
assistance (and orders) through information systems and technological offers. As the average bus
stop supports the waiting passenger only with a low-tech shelter and a timetable, train platforms and
departure gates provide technologies that are by far more advanced. Train platforms comprise a
multitude of technologies ranging from digital clock displays, vocal announcements or warning signs
to vending and ticket machines. Airport departure gates provide an even more sophisticated
technological asset, including air-conditioning, CCTV, provision of charging points for electronic
devices or wireless local area network (WLAN). Culminating in the concept of “Delaytainment”, which
aims to relieve the problem of delayed flights with the help of entertainment and additional services
at airports in the aftermath of 9/11 (Sauter-Servaes & Rammler, 2002), the disparities of different
modal waiting experiences from the perspective of its technological embedding become evident. In
short, the increased speed of trains and airplanes (compared to busses), again, demands for different
technological organization and thus different information densities. In this sense, faster transport
modes demand a more moderated waiting, while slower transport modes reflect for less assistance
through information and technology offers. However, currently there may be assimilation tendencies
throughout the three modes regarding the implementation of live traffic information systems, which
definitely affects the level of formalization of the wait, but generally speaking, waiting for a bus is
Bus Stop, Platform, Departure Gate:
A comparative assessment of transport environments concerning the interrelations of speed and waiting. Robin Kellermann
Page | 9
apparently far less ‘moderated’ and technologically accompanied than with faster means of
transport. While e.g. waiting for delayed trains or airplanes is subject to vocal announcements and
regular timetable updates, waiting for a delayed bus in most cases may receive almost no
‘moderation’ but individual self-organization as well as a cognitive exercise. Said so, it is not only the
level of speed but also the transport means’ technological sophistication that prompts and induces
different ‘waiting trajectories’.
IV. Outlook The future of waiting?
Waiting in transport is a fact. Despite ongoing efforts to eliminate waiting, it will most likely remain
an immanent and unavoidable constituent of any movement and transportation; moreover,
“mobility’s twin” (Hanson 2010, 6). Consequently, waiting must be considered a fundamental
condition of modernity, just as speed or tempo. However, what might the future of waiting in
transport look like? The following two scenarios shall highlight possible trajectories of how waiting in
transport might negotiated and aim to spark a discussion about this elusive and yet significant
temporal region.
In war with waiting: the great ‘tec fix’
Against the background of increasing globalization, international integration and urbanization, the
world will face ever-growing volumes in global, regional and local transportation. As a result, time
spent waiting in and waiting for transportation considerably increases. Therefore, the concept of
high-speed is more strongly in demand than in previous years. As proved historically, higher speeds
dramatically increase the organizational and technological requirements, and thus, again, increase
waiting times to new extremes. As a reply to face these constraints, transport operators and policy
makers declare a ‘war against waiting’. Huge efforts are made to ‘fight’ increased waiting times at
airports and stations through application of high-tech measures. Therefore, massive use of ICT is
combined with psychological ‘coping strategies’ to allow passengers to better manage their time
spent in context of transportation. ‘Innovation through total avoidance of waiting’ is the powerful
and yet illusionary mantra of both policy makers and the transport industry. Though to some extent
successful, these massive engagements finally result in a drastically increased time-sensitivity among
waiting passengers, which let them feel a wait of five minutes as a wait of thirty minutes ten years
ago. Thus, even the reduction of waiting time stills feels as problematic as it used to be. However, the
high spending for avoiding waiting against the background of an excessive societal logic of time
efficiency result in a more polarized transport world of those who can achieve to pay to wait less and
those who are strongly exposed to it. Finally, the idea to eliminate waiting as an immanent
condition of modernity by extensive technological fixes will increase unrest and finally will lead to
changing mobility behaviors towards a more pragmatic concept of mobility and time-use.
“Post-rush-mobility“: Constructive appraisal of waiting and renunciation of the high-speed concept
When extrapolating the above findings, one could assume that on the one hand, in the future we
might move faster due to technological progress, but, keeping in mind the higher organizational
constraints, this might come at the expense of increased waiting times before being transported. In
this vein, we might experience a further approximation of waiting time and travel time for short-haul
destinations, which could result in a diminishing marginal utility of speed. The traditional speed-
promise of safeguarding travel time savings with the help of higher velocities might erode against
Bus Stop, Platform, Departure Gate:
A comparative assessment of transport environments concerning the interrelations of speed and waiting. Robin Kellermann
Page | 10
the necessity to wait ever longer. Even if more efficient uses of technology and passenger behaviors
have reduced waiting times, geopolitical events like 9/11 have regularly been experienced as key
moments for a restitution and manifestation of waiting. As more of such rebound events might
appear in the future, altogether the perceptions of illusionary high-speed mobility might become
more pragmatic in nature and finally less attractive. The negative implications of increased waiting
times might force an ultimate renunciation of the long-admired high-speed approach and a
conceptual shift beyond traditional speed-obsessed transport paradigms. Instead, we might
experience the triumph of slower modes of transport that take longer, but are more reliable,
cheaper, eco-friendly, and, as shown above, include less waiting prior to be moved. In this respect,
the renaissance of trams and bicycles might illustrate that these developments have already started.
Rather than avoiding waiting, its constructive appraisal might become a principle on how to
negotiate the dialectics of speed in the 21st century. Among new perceptions about the use of time in
transport, waiting will not be considered any longer a dead period, but bears a new quality of
productive relaxation. As a result, the unavoidable fact of waiting in transport will generate a
‘harmonic tension’ and induces the need for developing innovative waiting environments that better
accommodate and accept waiting as an integral and yet activating part of mobility rather than
discarding or overlooking it. Consequently, newly designed waiting spaces could reflect an improved
acknowledgement of the waiting passenger among transport planners and policy makers, forming
the sense of the 21st century paradigm of “post-rush-mobility”.
V. Conclusion
Waiting in the transport context has often been discarded as a banal and ignorable niche of
passengers’ time perception, moreover, as a stepchild of modernity. However, as presented in this
paper, waiting needs to be considered far more than just a collateral damage or an unbeloved spinoff
of mobility, but as a unique formation caused by the anticipated acceleration level following the wait.
As different levels of speed demand different levels of control and prearrangements, the anticipated
speed of the transport system is the decisive factor for shaping modus, environment and experience
of the waiting passenger. Therefore, this paper presented suggestions focusing the relational
dimension of speed and waiting with the help of a brief comparative examination of three different
waiting environments (bus stop, train platform and airport departure gate) from a phenomenological
perspective. As a major observation from these assessments, it is the speed level and the
technological sophistication of the affiliated transport means that prompts and induces very different
waiting landscapes and thus profiles the experience of waiting in the following three proportions.
Firstly, rising speed levels nurture longer waiting times in the sense of increasing needs for pre-
conditioning the waiting passenger in intermediate (control) steps, guidance, and technological
organization. Secondly, rising speed levels increase the formalization of the wait in terms of further
disciplining the waiting passenger in a set of ‘moorings’ (Urry, 2007), such as seat shells, couches,
screens or dedicated zones. Thirdly, rising speed levels become a pivotal factor for shaping the use of
technologies to be found in waiting spaces. The faster the transport mode is supposed to physically
move the waiting passenger, the more technological assistance he receives through information
systems and supplementary technological offers prior to his journey. In this sense, faster transport
modes seem to demand a more moderated waiting, while slower transport modes reflect for less
assistance through information and technology offers.
Waiting for buses, trains or airplanes inclose a clear analogy of space and time constraints. Since the
passenger faces a strictly determined place of departure at a determined time, he is forced to deal
within these limitations. However, despite this overarching analogy, the physical form and
Bus Stop, Platform, Departure Gate:
A comparative assessment of transport environments concerning the interrelations of speed and waiting. Robin Kellermann
Page | 11
arrangement of waiting areas strongly differ. Indeed, different transport systems entail different
passenger capacities and thus cause the need for different organizations of waiting spaces. However,
questions regarding these different technological or spatial waiting trajectories cannot be answered
with the transport means’ different capacities, clientele or fares alone. From a more general point of
view, rising speed levels commensurate with rising organizational problems, which illustrated best
by a comparison of bus stops and airport departure gates finally impose very different needs to
host the waiting passenger. In a sum, the speed level of the bus or the airplane becomes the
organizational reference shaping the wait and induces a range of different ‘waiting trajectories’.
Regarding the dialectic of speed and waiting, this raises interesting questions about how the waiting
mode might influence the experience of speed or if waiting is just rather downstream of speed.
Focusing on waiting in mobility reveals a hidden face of transport and unveils a blind spot of mobility
studies. A better understanding of this unpopular and yet elusive phenomenon might contribute to
the debate about a conceptual shift beyond traditional speed-obsessed transport paradigms. As
waiting in transport is a merely unavoidable fact, this paper finally presented two scenarios of how
the future of waiting might look like, drawing possible paths from eliminating waiting through
illusionary technological fixes to accommodating waiting as a constructive appraisal and the base for
a “post-rush mobility of the 21st century.
References
Baker, J., and Cameron, M. (1996). “The effects of the service environment on affect and consumer perception
of waiting time: An integrative review and research propositions”, in Journal of the Academy of
Marketing Science 24(4), 338-349.
Bissell, D. (2007). “Animating Suspensation: Waiting for Mobilities”, in Mobilities 2(2), 277-298.
Borscheid, P. (2004). Das Tempo-Virus. Frankfurt am Main: Campus.
CAA UK Civil Aviation Authority (2011)
http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/80/airline_data/2011Annual/Table_0_1_6_All_Services_2011.pdf
(retrieved 13th August 2014).
Conrad, P. (1999). Modern Times and Modern Places. How Life and Art were Transformed in a Century of
Revolution, Innovation, Radical Change. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Elias, N. (1984). Über die Zeit. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.
Fuller, G. (2007). “The queue project: informationalising bodies and bits”, in Semiotic Review of Books,
16(3), 1-5.
Fuller, G. (2008). “>store>forward>:architectures of a future tense”, in Aeromobilities: Theory and Method, S.
Cwerner, S. Kesselring and J. Urry eds., London: Routledge, 63-75.
Gasparini, G. (1995). “On Waiting”, in Time & Society, 4(1), 29-45.
Harley, R. (2011). “Airportals. The functional significance of stillness in the Junkspace of airports”, in Stillness in
a Mobile World, D. Bissell and G. Fuller eds., Milton Park: Routledge, 38-50.
Köhler, A. (2007). Lange Weile. Über das Warten. Leipzig. Insel.
Larson, C. (1988). “There is more to a line than it's Wait”, in Technology Review, 91, 60-62.
Lash, S., and Urry, J. (1994). Economies of Signs and Space. London: Sage.
Maister, D. (1985). “The psychology of waiting lines”, in The Service Encounter , J. A. Czepiel, M. R. Solomon,
and F. Surprenant eds., Lexington: Lexington Books, 113-124.
Mann, L. (1969). “Queue Culture: The Waiting Line as a Social System”, in American Journal of Sociology, 75(3),
340-354.
Moran, J. (2004). “November in Berlin: the End of the Everyday”, in History Workshop Journal, 57, 216-234.
Paris, R. (2001). “Warten auf Amtsfluren“, in lner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 53(4), 705-
733.
Pruyn, A., and Smidts, A. (1998). “Effects of waiting on the satisfaction with the service: Beyond objective time
measures”, in International Journal of Research in Marketing, 15(4), 321-334.
Rosa, H. (2005). Beschleunigung: Die Veränderung der Zeitstrukturen in der Moderne. Frankfurt am Main:
Suhrkamp.
Bus Stop, Platform, Departure Gate:
A comparative assessment of transport environments concerning the interrelations of speed and waiting. Robin Kellermann
Page | 12
Sauter-Servaes, T., and Rammler, S. (2002). Delaytainment an Flughäfen: die Notwendigkeit eines
Verspätungsservices und erste Gestaltungsideen, Berlin: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin.
Sheller, M., and Urry, J. (2006). “The new mobilities paradigm”, in Environment and Planning A, 38(2), 207-226.
Schivelbusch, W. (1987). The Railway Journey: The Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th Century.
Berkeley: University of California Press.
Schweizer, H. (2008). On Waiting. London: Routledge.
Taylor, S. (1994). “Waiting for Service: The Relationship Between Delays and Evaluations of Service”, in Journal
of Marketing 58(2), 56-69.
Thompson, D. A., Yarnold, P. R., Williams, D. R., and Adams, S. L. (1996). “Effects of actual waiting time,
perceived waiting time, information delivery, and expressive quality on patient satisfaction in the
emergency department”, in Annals of Emergency Medicine, 28(6), 657-665.
Urry, J. (2007). Mobilities. Cambridge: Polity Press.
van Hagen, M. (2011). Waiting experience at train stations. Delft: Eburon.
van Hagen, M., Pruyn, A., Galetzka, M., and Kramer, J. (2009). Waiting is becoming fun! The influence of
advertaising and infotainment on the waiting experince. Retrieved from
http://imi.aau.dk/~09ml382/DVD/References/dutch_railways.pdf accessed April 15th, 2014.
Vozyanov, A. (2014). “Approaches to Waiting in Mobility Studies: Utilization, Conceptualization, Historicizing”,
in Mobility in History, 5, 64-73.
Virilio, P. (1977). Vitesse et Politique. Essai de dromologie, Paris: Galilée
Yates, J. (1987). Why are we waiting? An analysis of hospital waiting lists. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Full-text available
Mobility requires waiting, especially in intermodal transportation systems. Peo-ple must wait in airports, stations, and vehicles; at bus stops; in queues at regis-tration desks and luggage checks; at boarding; and elsewhere. Waiting is part of the public transportation routine. As Ohmori and Harata report, an average com-mute time for train commuters in Tokyo is sixty-nine minutes. 1 Waiting is built into economic relations. Waiting before traveling strongly af-fects travel mode choice. 2 In the typical post-Soviet city, short headways between minibuses might outweigh this mode's disadvantages. Travelers try to adjust travel time (a kind of waiting time) to suit their needs. For instance, because public transportation does not demand their attention, commuters can concen-trate on other occupations. Waiting implicates the traveler's body, which may be sitting or standing, relaxed or tensed, constrained by a crowd or not. Facilities for adjustments are subject to commercialization, for example, in the form of extra-fee seats in express trains or advertisements in waiting areas. Concerning virtual mobility, "[s]low downloading web pages represent one of the most impor-tant obstacles to growth in online commerce and a major cause of e-commerce failures." 3 Stationary and portable data transmission devices, which make up an 1. Nobuaki Ohmori and Noboru Harata, "How Different Are Activities while Commuting by Train? A Case in Tokyo," Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografi e 99, no. 5 (2009):
Article
Full-text available
Der Luftverkehr ist ein internationaler Wachstumsmarkt. Eng damit verbunden sind schwerwiegende, strukturell begründete Kapazitätsprobleme der Luftver-kehrsinfrastrukturen, die chronische – in Zeiten starker Nachfrage sogar kata-strophale – Engpass- und Verspätungssituationen herbeiführen. Mittel- bis lang-fristig ist auch trotz der Ereignisse rund um den 11. September nicht von einer Verbesserung der Pünktlichkeitswerte auszugehen. Im Gegenteil wird der Luft-verkehr zukünftig noch stärker im Stau stecken als bislang schon. Das vorlie-gende Papier beleuchtet die strukturellen Gründe dieser Verspätungsproblematik. Ausgehend von diesem Befund werden sodann auf der Grundlage der Ergebnisse einer qualitativen empirischen Erhebung Vorschläge verspätungsbezogener Ser-viceinitiativen entwickelt, die an die zunehmenden Tendenzen zur erlebnis-orientierten „Entertainisierung“ von Wartesituationen in allen Lebensbereichen anschließen. Dieser sogenannte „Delaytainment“-Ansatz speist sich aus der Überzeugung, dass die handlungsmächtigen Akteure des Systems – die Luftver-kehrsgesellschaften und Flughafengesellschaften – bislang mitnichten alle Mög-lichkeiten verspätungsbezogener Serviceinitiativen ausschöpfen. Nach Ansicht der Autoren reicht es heute nicht mehr aus, allein Massnahmen zur Verspä-tungsvermeidung zu entwickeln. Vielfältige Möglichkeiten zur sofortigen Lin-derung der Situation bleiben ungenutzt. Der derzeitigen Verspätungssituation angemessen muss gleichzeitig das in den Verkehrswissenschaften häufig gescholtene „Reparaturdienstverhalten“ durch ein geeignetes Notfallmanagement verbessert werden. Oder anders gesagt: Kein Arzt würde, nur weil er primär an der Heilung der die Schmerzen verursachenden Krankheit interessiert ist, die ihre Folgen lindernden Schmerzmittel in seiner Therapie vernachlässigen. Dies scheint aber im derzeitigen Verspätungsmanagement des Luftverkehrs der Fall zu sein. Die hier vorgestellten Lösungsansätze zielen auf eine Verbesserung dieser Situ-ation. Auch die Adaption der grundlegenden Gestaltungsphilosophien auf Verspä-tungssituationen im Bereich der anderen Verkehrsträger erscheint aus dieser Sicht wünschenswert. -- Air Passenger Traffic is a strongly growing international market. Such growth creates delay and capacity problems, issues of increasing political and scientific interest. In this paper the structural reasons of the delay-problem are examined. On the basis of a qualitative empirical investigation a so-called „Delaytainment“-approach is developed, aiming to relieve – not to cure – the structural problems which can only be solved in middle and long term perspektives.
Book
Der Autor entwickelt die These, dass die zunächst befreiende und befähigende Wirkung der modernen sozialen Beschleunigung, die mit den technischen Geschwindigkeitssteigerungen des Transports, der Kommunikation oder der Produktion zusammenhängt, in der Spätmoderne in ihr Gegenteil umzuschlagen droht. Das Tempo des Lebens hat zugenommen und mit ihm Stress, Hektik und Zeitnot, so hört man allerorten klagen – obwohl wir auf nahezu allen Gebieten des sozialen Lebens mithilfe der Technik enorme Zeitgewinne durch Beschleunigung verzeichnen können. Wir haben keine Zeit, obwohl wir sie im Überfluss gewinnen. Dafür, so die leitende These der Arbeit, ist es erforderlich, die Logik der Beschleunigung zu entschlüsseln.
Article
Focusing on post-industrial economies, the study examines social inequality and changing experiences of time, space, culture, travel, the environment and globalization. Through a comparative analysis of the UK and US, Germany and Japan, the authors show how restructuration after organized capitalism has its basis in increasingly reflexive social actors and organizations. The consequence is not only the much-vaunted "postmodern condition' but a growth in reflexivity. In exploring this new reflexive world, the authors argue that today's economies are increasingly economies of signs - information, symbols, images, desire - and of space, where both signs and social subjects - refugees, financiers, tourists, flaneurs - are mobile over ever greater distances. They show how an understanding of such flows contributes to the analysis of changes in social relations, from the organization of work to the "culture industries', from the formation of an underclass to new forms of citizenship. -Publisher
Article
University of Toronto Quarterly 74.3 (2005) 777-792 The time of boredom is empty, it has neither object nor end; its temporality is vague, but its vagueness and its immanence make it a poetic trope, a Laforguian ennui, a Proustian melancholy. Desire is object-related, mostly illusory, a Romantic trope par excellence, as fashionable today as consumption at the turn of the twentieth century. Situated between boredom and desire, waiting has the charms of neither. It is neither a melancholic condition given to propensities of philosophic depth, nor a Romantic illusion by which desire achieves its passionate failures. Waiting is not very interesting. Although waiting is practised, endured, or suffered in many different ways and contexts, the apparent universal agreement that nobody likes to wait implies a contemporary attitude towards waiting that seems engendered not least by the failure of technology to deliver us from time. The psalmist, the lover in a courtship, the man of action wait with hope, desire, or purpose, in sync with the requirements of history or the rhythms of nature. Their waiting is necessitated and legitimized by traditions and cultural norms different from the modern scenario of a formless, purposeless temporality experienced by the person who finds herself in the exemplary existential situation, having time without wanting it: the modern waiter whom we encounter in Proust, James, Eliot, or Woolf. Even if not all experiences of waiting are the same, dependent as they are on history, context, and tradition, references to philosophical treatises on time by Henri Bergson, Gaston Bachelard, and Georges Poulet and illustrations with passages from James and T.S. Eliot might prove relevant for an investigation of a phenomenon so quotidian and familiar, and so repressed by economic and cultural necessities, that it has quite escaped our attention. The very familiarity of waiting has obscured it. Its uselessness has made it an economic liability. Its unpredictability has rendered waiting the precarious condition for unexpected self-encounters. Nobody likes to wait. I propose that in the experience of waiting, because of the peculiar quality of consciousness it engenders, we enter into a temporality different from that time in which we daily strive to accomplish our tasks and meet our appointments. For Bergson real time is duration; we must endure time, we are the time that endures. Bergson's duration appears like the unconscious of official time within whose economic determinations we live – but do not have our being. In the experience of waiting, I suggest, we awaken to the repressed rhythms of duration and thus also to the deeper dimensions of our being. If in these dimensions we find ourselves estranged from the world in which we live, Gaston Bachelard and Georges Poulet add to that estrangement yet another one – an aesthetic estrangement. Unlike for Bergson, for Bachelard time is conceivable only as the instant whose idealized, most complete expression is poetry, outside of which there is the nothingness of duration, a waste of time devoid of reality. Georges Poulet envisions the poem as a structuring of the instant into a form whose exclusivity, as in Bachelard, suggests that time in such form always reaches closure. But Bachelard's and Poulet's idealized conceptions of time – cultivated as they are in the aesthetic of the 'timelessness' of art – only deepen the waiter's sense of the tedium of her experience. Even if the fluid, indeterminate qualities of Bergson's durée become staple characteristics of modernist literature – in nostalgia, melancholy, ennui, or resignation – waiting has remained unaesthetic, uninteresting. 'L'attente est horrible,' says Clytemnestra in Jean Giraudoux's Électre (92). In his Principia...
Article
This article argues that waiting, a typical `inter-stitial time', deserves specific analysis because of the wealth of meanings which can be attributed to it from the actor's point of view. After considering the links between `waiting' and `expectation', three types of waiting are considered: namely, waiting as blockage of action; as an experience filled with substitute meanings; and as a meaningful experience. Special attention is paid to the causes underlying waiting in service activities. Finally, the author tries to show how various kinds of waiting are interrelated in everyday life.
Article
In the railway sector there is a great deal of interest in objective time but hardly any in passengers’ subjective experience of time. The focus of this publication is thus not on (shortening) objective time but on how time itself is experienced and how this can be improved. Aware that a journey must not only be quick but also pleasant, Netherlands Railways (NS) consequently sets itself the following objective: “To transport our passengers safely, on time and in comfort via appealing stations.” Particularly the wait is found to be unpleasant, with passengers regarding stations and especially platforms as sombre, boring and grey places, devoid of atmosphere and colour. By improving the waiting environment, we can kill two birds with one stone: passengers will find waiting more pleasant and the waiting time will appear to be shorter. The practical question in this research thus reads: “Which measures are effective to make the waiting time at stations more pleasant and/or to shorten the perception of waiting time?” The conclusion is that by adding the right environmental stimuli at the right moment, both the station and the wait are more positively evaluated, resulting in the score for the general appraisal of the platform increasing by half to one full point.
Article
The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
Article
This article interrogates the corporeal experience of the event of waiting during the process of journeying. Rather than focusing on differential speed as central to charting the contingent relationality between mobilities and immobilities as has been the dominant mode of reasoning in mobility studies, I argue for a renewed focus on the body, specifically through the relationality between activity and inactivity. In this way, the event of waiting is no longer conceptualised as a dead period of stasis or stilling, or even a slower urban rhythm, but is instead alive with the potential of being other than this. Through an appreciation of the dynamic nature of temporality, this essay charts a journey through the relative in/activities embodied through waiting and concludes that waiting as an event should be conceptualised not solely as an active achievement or passive acquiescence but as a variegated affective complex where experience folds through and emerges from a multitude of different planes.