Making time count: Traveler activity engagement on urban transit

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, ridership - attitudes, ridership - behaviour, ridership - mode choice, planning - travel demand management, planning - surveys, economics - value of time


Activity engagement, Public transportation, Information and communication technology, Time use, Travel behavior


In practice, travel time is assigned a cost and treated as a disutility to be minimized. There is a growing body of research supporting the hypothesis that travel time has some value of its own, and the proliferation of information and communication technology (ICT) may be contributing to that value. Travelers’ attitudes are confounded with their mode choice, and as telecommunications mediate travel behavior, analysts must recognize the interaction between time use and customer satisfaction for appropriate travel demand management. To that end, this paper presents results from jointly estimated models of travelers’ latent satisfaction and on-board activity engagement using Chicago transit rider data gathered in April 2010. The simple questionnaire and small sample corroborate the findings of past research indicating travel attitudes and activity engagement have potential to influence travelers’ value of time, and many transit riders consider transit a better use of time and/or money than driving. The findings affirm the need for a more holistic understanding of value of time for travel demand management and infrastructure valuation. As time use has an influence on users’ valuation of the transit mode, offering opportunities to conduct certain leisure activities could improve the perceived value of travel time.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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