Synchronicity of Activity Engagement and Travel in Time and Space: Descriptors and Correlates of Field Observations

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - surveys, ridership - demand, economics - value of time, mode - mass transit


Value of time, Trip purpose, Travel time, Travel surveys, Travel models (Travel demand), Travel demand, Transit, Time of day, Time allocation, Synchronicity, Sociodemographics, San Francisco Bay Area, Public transit, Periods of the day, Multitasking, Mass transit, Local transit, Journey time, Activity choices


This paper reports some main findings of a study that was conducted to understand individuals’ use of time better for travel, in particular on public transport. Based on methodological considerations, field observations were used to collect the relevant information. Results of various multivariate analyses indicate that time allocation to various activities, including sleeping, while traveling on public transport (specifically, San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transport System in California) primarily depends on sociodemographics such as gender, age, travel party, and race. However, results also indicate effects of contextual variables such as travel duration and time of day, which are particularly relevant for discriminating between different segments of activities while traveling. It is argued that a better understanding of time allocation during travel and the related concept of multitasking is crucial for better estimates of the value of time savings. These enhanced understandings should contribute to several discussions on time use in society and ultimately be used to develop dynamic activity-based travel demand models.