Monday, January 31, 2011

Why subway countdown clocks are important

New York Magazine explains why countdown clocks in transit stations are valuable.
Perhaps it’s because waiting is psychically painful. In 1985, psychologist Edgar Elías Osuna established the two specific factors most contributing to this discontent: the minutes already lost to the wait and the uncertainty of how much delay remains. This isn’t terribly surprising; we’d expect that the longer one must wait, the more stress one experiences. But his data also revealed something else, which is that this increasing stress response is effectively canceled out when the individual knows in advance when service is likely to come.
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