Scent design can influence bus passengers’ experience of safety

Mandarin and leather make you feel safer

Published in Senses by

Scent design influences the sense of safety among public transport passengers, a study in the Netherlands suggests. The effect was small and working better for women then men, but the bus company that commissioned the study is now considering using fragrances on high-risk routes.

Public transport company Connexxion commissioned, Senta Multisensory Concepting, a Dutch marketing consultancy specializing in multi-sensory customer experience, to determine the possible use of fragrances to enhance feelings of safety among bus commuters.

A study among 500 passengers on scheduled bus services showed that a smell including mandarin, violet, carnation, leather and wood fragrances enhanced the safety feelings of nine percent of female passengers. Males responded less, although some of them felt ‘more welcome’ in the bus.

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