Understanding In-home and Out-of-home Time Use Patterns: an Analysis of the UK Time Use Survey

Understanding In-home and Out-of-home Time Use Patterns: an Analysis of the UK Time Use Survey


A Sivakumar, D Azar, J Polak, Imperial College London, UK


This paper explores the relationships between in-home and out-of-home activity patterns within the UK Time Use survey using structural equation models.


There is an increased interdependence in the patterns of in-home (IH) and out-of-home (OH) time use due to the proliferation of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) that enable individuals to undertake IH several activities that have traditionally been considered OH activities. For instance, online shopping is now a viable, and even popular, alternative to shopping in-store; banking and other services are easily undertaken over the phone or internet; telecommuting is made easier by faster broadband connections and video telephony services. While some IH activities are substitutes for OH activities, others generate new OH activities. For example, connecting with a friend online may be followed by a visit to the theatre in the evening with the same friend.

The interdependencies between IH and OH activities are the subject of several research studies, mostly with the objective of developing time allocation models (e.g. Yamamoto and Kitamura, 1999). However, as the literature indicates, there are clearly a lot of differences in the IH and OH activity patterns depending on the context of the study. This is a result of cultural differences, and differential penetration of ICTs. In the context of the UK, although the UK time use survey provides a rich source of data (albeit a touch outdated, collected as it was in 2001), we found that there are no studies exploring the IH-OH trade-offs.

As part of a larger research effort focused on developing an activity-based travel demand model system for London, we explore the UK time use data to first develop a detailed understanding of the IH-OH trade-offs as a precursor to developing predictive models of IH and OH activity participation. We use structural equation models (SEM) to explore the complex interdependencies between a range of IH and OH activity categories. The results of this analysis provide useful insights into the potential substitutions and complementarities between different activity categories, which can be used to develop more behaviourally realistic activity generation and scheduling models. Within the SEMs, we also attempt to capture the impacts of owning ICTs, though this part of the analysis is limited by the information available in the UK TUS, which is somewhat dated.

T Yamamoto, R Kitamura (1999) An analysis of time allocation to in-home and out-of-home discretionary activities across working days and non-working days, Transportation, 26 (1999), pp. 211?230


Association for European Transport