Comparing Rail Passengers’ Travel Time Use in Great Britain Between 2004 and 2010

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - rail, place - europe, ridership - behaviour, ridership - commuting


Travel time use, Multitasking, Rail travel, Value of time, Mobile technologies


This paper provides a unique insight into aspects of stability and change regarding the travel time use of rail passengers in Great Britain between 2004 and 2010. Empirical evidence is presented on how rail passengers spend their time, how worthwhile they consider their time use to be, the extent of advance planning of their time use and how equipped for time use they are in terms of the items they have to hand when they travel. The results reveal a consistent dominance of reading for leisure, window gazing/people watching and working/studying as favoured travel time activities. Over the six-year period, the availability and use of mobile technologies has increased. Listening to music in particular has doubled in its incidence suggesting an increasing capacity for travellers to personalise the public space of the railway carriage. Most notably the analysis reveals a substantial increase in the proportion of travellers overall making very worthwhile use of their time.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Taylor&Francis, copyright remains with them.