Segmenting travellers based on day-to-day variability in work-related travel behaviour


Fiona Crawford

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, mode - subway/metro, place - europe, policy - fares, ridership - behaviour, ridership - commuting, planning - surveys


Intrapersonal variability, Commuting, Working patterns, Flexible working, Multiday travel behaviour, Business travel


Travel needs for commute and business trips are complex and choices are not made based on the characteristics of individual trips, but instead based on the needs over weeks and months. For example, the cost per trip of commuting by bus varies depending upon the frequency of travel, and the cost of a monthly subway pass depends upon the number of zones visited during that period. Intrapersonal variability, namely the variation in an individual's travel behaviour from day to day, therefore shapes our transport choices and should influence service provision. Changes in working patterns such as increases in part time working, self-employment and tele-commuting challenge the traditionally held assumptions that work activities are fixed in time and space, thus making intrapersonal variability increasingly relevant. This research uses a data-driven approach to segment workers based on their work-related travel behaviour, including frequency of travel and both spatial and time of day intrapersonal variability. The analysis uses survey and seven day travel diary data for over 110,000 people collected over a 19 year period in England. Four groups of workers were identified: infrequent, spatially variable, temporally variable and regular travellers. These groups do not align closely with self-reported working arrangements such as self-employment or part time working. The group of regular travellers has decreased in size between 1998 and 2016 but remains the largest group, containing just under 60% of workers in 2016. Both the infrequent and spatially variable groups have grown over the same period. For a small but growing group of workers, a seven day diary is insufficient to understand their work-related transport needs as little or no work travel is recorded. These findings have implications for the design of public transport ticketing, the design of mobility as a service packages and the appraisal of congestion charging schemes.


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


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