Crowding and personal space invasion on the train: Please don't make me sit in the middle

Gary W. Evans, Richard E. Wener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mass transit users frequently experience crowding during their commutes. In this study of 139 urban passenger train commuters during rush hour, we found that the density of the train car was inconsequential for multiple indices (self-report, salivary cortisol, performance aftereffects) of stress whereas the immediate seating density proximate to the passenger significantly affected all three indices. When people had to sit close to other passengers, they experienced adverse reactions. These results are consistent with prior work indicating that individual spacing among persons that leads to personal space invasions is a more salient environmental condition than density per se. The findings also have implications for the design of mass transit vehicles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-94
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2007

Keywords

  • Commuting
  • Crowding
  • Personal space
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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