Review and meta-analysis of U.K. time elasticities of travel demand


Mark Wardman

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, place - europe, planning - travel demand management, ridership - demand


direct elasticities, travel time, headway, generalised journey time (GJT), meta-analysis, review


In contrast with reviews of values of time and price elasticities, the literature contains little by way of detailed reviews of travel time based choice and demand elasticities. This paper reports the most extensive meta-analysis of time-based demand elasticities yet undertaken, supplemented with a review of literature not previously in the public domain. The meta-analysis is based upon 427 direct elasticities covering travel time, generalised journey time (GJT) and service headway and drawn from 69 UK studies. The elasticities are found to vary, as expected, across attributes, and quite strong effects have been detected according to distance. We provide interesting insights into the relationship between long and short run elasticities and elasticities obtained from static models and choice models based on actual and hypothetical preferences. Significantly, the results seem to indicate that the duration for the long run demand impact to work through depends upon the periodicity of the model estimated. There is little variation apparent by journey purpose, source of the evidence, nor over time or by region/flow type, whilst travel time elasticities for high speed rail are not materially different from conventional contexts. The findings support some official elasticity recommendations and conventions but challenge others, and can be used to provide time-based elasticities where none exist or to assess new empirical evidence.


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