Is Travelling Really a Waste of Time?

Is Travelling Really a Waste of Time?


G Dodds, S Turnbull, Jacobs, UK


We are obsessed with time.

Does a focus on reducing journey times represent the best way of delivering an appropriate transport system?


We are obsessed with time.

Reducing journey times has been a key driver in the development of the global economy, how we go about our daily lives, and where we live and work. But does continuing to focus on this represent the best way of delivering an appropriate transport system that can support sustainable economic growth?

In this paper, we examine the reasons for journey time being key to the development of the modern industrial economy. This considers the rapid growth of transport networks to support the supply of raw goods to manufacturing facilities, and the onward transport of finished products to their markets. We then consider how the move away from manufacturing to service sector has impacted, and been impacted by, the residual transport network. We also look at this from an appraisal perspective, to understand how simple direct relationships have changed to multi-faceted and multi-party environments.

We analyse the requirements placed on a transport network by our current economy and consider how the assessment process for transport schemes relates to the direction of government policy. We also consider how changes in technology and the demands that we make of a modern transport network have impacted on what we do when we travel, and what we may be able to do in the near future. The "value-of-time" is an often quoted phrase, but what is the reality of that for those needing to travel and how does it continue to evolve?

We examine the role of BCR and the way in which monetising elements of the assessment in the context of our consideration how people value and use their time.

We examine the relationship between "journey time" and "connectivity" to determine their relative importance in relation to journey purpose and length, modal choice, land use and location choices, scheme evaluation, and the evidence of how they impact economic performance and growth. We use personal travel examples and policy and practice from across Europe to illustrate our findings.

Finally, we consider how current appraisal methods approach the issue of "time" and the level of significance that this has for determining our future investment priorities. We include within this a comparison using outcome driven assessment indicators.


Association for European Transport