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There is undoubtedly growing interest in the role of scent in the design of multisensory experiences. However, to date, the majority of the research has focused on its use in the (static) built environment. As highlighted by this narrative review, somewhat different challenges and opportunities arise just as soon as one starts to consider olfaction in the case of transportation-what might be called "scent in motion." For instance, levels of anxiety/stress while traveling are often higher (especially in the case of air travel), while, at the same time, the passenger's personal space is frequently compromised. Four key functional roles for scent in the context of passenger transportation are outlined. They include the masking of malodour, the introduction of branded signature scents, short-term olfactory marketing interventions, and the functional use of scent to enhance the experience of travel. In the latter case, one might consider the use of scent to help reduce the stress/anxiety amongst airplane passengers or to give the impression of cleanliness. Meanwhile, in the case of driving, scents have been suggested as an inoffensive means of alerting/relaxing the driver and may also help tackle the problem of motion sickness. The specific challenges associated with scent in motion are reviewed and a number of future opportunities highlighted.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Psychol

Publication Date





functional scents, malodour, scent, scent marketing, signature scents, transport