Measurement of Visitors’ Subjective and Objective Emotional Response to Congestion in Public Spaces

Rotem Mashkov*, Noam Shoval

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on the ties between congestion and visitors’ experiences in a destination has primarily used subjective methods. The current study proposes that the emotional, subjective visitor response to congestion be measured alongside the objective experience, in real time and real-world conditions. To do so, advanced tracking methods in time and space (GPS) were combined with the Experience Sampling Method (ESM), which includes self-reporting and physiological monitoring of electrodermal activity (SCL). An intra-subject experiment was designed, with all participants asked to traverse an identical path in Jerusalem’s main market, Mahane Yehuda, under two different crowding conditions. The partial concordance between subjective and objective arousal highlights the methodology’s significance for increasing our understanding of a visit’s emotional dimension in urban destinations, particularly congested public spaces. Alongside the study’s limitations, the practical application of the methodology for tourist destinations and urban settings that face congestion and overcrowding is discussed, aiming to improve the quality of the visitor experience and urban well-being.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Travel Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • overtourism
  • perceived crowding
  • physiological sensors
  • skin conductance level
  • visitor experience


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