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Let Me Save You Some Time... On Valuing Travelers' Time in Urban Transportation

4 December 2019


Systems of urban transportation are largely shaped through planning practices. In transport economics, the benefits of infrastructure investments consist mainly of travel time savings calculated using monetary values of time. The economic interpretation of the value of travel time has significantly shaped our urban environment and transportation schemes. However, there is often an underlying assumption of transferability between time and money, which arguably does not sufficiently take into account the specific features of time. In this paper, we analyze the various properties of time as an economic resource using findings in behavioral economics and psychology. Due to limitations in the standard model, it is proposed that an alternative model value should be investigated in which time rather than money is the primary carrier of and the basic features of such a model are outlined. An improved understanding the nature of time as a source of utility puts us in a better position to determine what aspects of time matter. Additionally, the analysis can be applied to further develop modeling where value of time plays a significant role; such as new models for the planning of urban transport.


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