A wider look at how travellers value the quality and quantity of travel time

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, ridership - commuting


travel time savings, commuting, economic terms, New Zealand


In the context of transport policy, travel time is widely treated in purely economic terms, with the key aim of 'saving' or reducing what is seen as unproductive travel time.

The current emphasis on travel time savings uses mean values for different modes, and assumes that people want to minimise (save) their travel time irrespective of what mode they use. Our work explored the possibility that some people value their travel time, particularly for commuting, and may not want to reduce it, irrespective of what mode they usually use. We examined a range of issues through data gathered from an online survey of approximately 500 Auckland- and Wellington-based commuters, including the following:

• Does the bulk of commuters' existing commute trip travel time lie above or below their 'ideal' commute travel time - what are the implications for the value used for travel time savings?

• How do people use the time they spend commuting and do they value this time? Even if they 'do nothing' on their commute trip, do commuters value it for its 'anti-activity' nature?

• Is how they value their commuting travel time related to the purpose for travel, their enjoyment of their current job or course of study, and/or to other attitudes about travel mode and the environment?


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by NZ Transport Agency, copyright remains with them.