Quantity and Quality of Productive Use of Transit Commuting Time: A Heckman Model

TitleQuantity and Quality of Productive Use of Transit Commuting Time: A Heckman Model
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsJinhua Zhao, Alison Lung, Zhan Guo
Conference NameTransportation Research Board 92nd Annual Meeting
PublisherTransportation Research Board
Conference LocationWashington, D.C.
KeywordsBus transit; Commuters; Commuting; Productivity; Travel time; Universities and colleges, Time use

In North America, the average individual taking public transportation spends about 45 minute commuting one way each day. This equates to about 398 hours per year and thus ways to reduce travel time are imperative. Rather than attempting to reduce travel time directly, changing the perspective of how commuting time is spent by improving the productive use of time provides a more cost effective solution. This paper explored and measured the extent that bus commuters are currently using their time actively during in-vehicle travel time. Heckman’s selection method was used to incorporate passengers who do not use their time actively to correct for sample selection bias and model the decision to use time actively as a two stage process. Average quantity and quality of primary activity time was found to be 20 minutes and 66%, respectively, where 66% is a relative measure compared to the same activity conducted at a home or office environment where the quality would be 100%. The impact of ICT is predominant in almost all models tested, with degree of crowding and gender being a major factor in one’s choice to use time actively. Given that individuals are able to make use of their transit commute time productively, commuters will in hope be more attracted to use transit by having this advantage over driving. If being productive does have an influence on an individual’s travel mode choice, there could be huge implications on traditional transportation modelling and demand and quality management.