Reinterpreting Time: Perception & Information

In Newtonian physics, time is linear, one-directional, and absolute. In transportation, travel time is wasted, of negative utility, and to be minimized, until Prof. Mokhtarian challenged it and proposed the tripartite structure of transportation utility. JTL continues this line of research by examining how perception of time can be manipulated by information through both maps and digital devices, defining and quantifying the notion of “quality” of travel time use, and designing individualized information system for urban transportation. 

Unified Estimator for Excess Journey Time under Heterogenous Passenger Incidence Behavior using Smartcard Data, Zhao, Jinhua, Frumin Michael, Wilson Nigel, and Zhao Zhan , Transportation Research Part C, Volume 34, p.70–88, (2013)

Excess journey time (EJT), the difference between actual passenger journey times and journey times implied by the published timetable, strikes a useful balance between the passenger’s and operator’s perspectives of public transport service quality. Using smartcard data, this paper tried to characterize transit service quality with EJT under heterogeneous incidence behavior (arrival at boarding stations). A rigorous framework was established for analyzing EJT, in particular for reasoning...

Inferring patterns in the multi-week activity sequences of public transport users, Goulet Langlois, Gabriel , Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, Volume 64, p.1-16, (2016)

The public transport networks of dense cities such as London serve passengers with widely different travel patterns. In line with the diverse lives of urban dwellers, activities and journeys are combined within days and across days in diverse sequences. From personalized customer information, to improved travel demand models, understanding this type of heterogeneity among transit users is relevant to a number of applications core to public transport agencies’ function. In this study,...

Exploring Regularity and Structure in Travel Behavior Using Smart Card Data, Goulet Langlois, Gabriel , Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Volume Master of Science in Transportation, Cambridge, MA, (2015)

As the economic opportunities fostered by large cities become more diverse, the travel patterns of public transport users become more heterogeneous. From personalized customer information, to improved travel demand models, understanding these heterogeneous travel patterns is useful for a number of applications relevant to public transport agencies. This thesis explores how smart card data can be used to analyze and compare the structure of individual travel patterns observed over several...

Quantity and Quality of Productive Use of Transit Commuting Time: A Heckman Model, Zhao, Jinhua, Lung Alison, and Guo Zhan , Transportation Research Board 92nd Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., (2013)

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...

Smart Devices and Travel Time Use by Bus Passengers in Vancouver, Canada, Guo, Zhan, Derian Alexandra, and Zhao Jinhua , International Journal of Sustainable Transportation, Volume 9, Issue 5, p.335–347, (2015)

This research investigates the usage of smart devices and time at bus stops and on buses in Vancouver, Canada. Using passive observations and self-reported surveys mainly from college students, the majority of passengers were found to use their travel time actively. Most of the observed active activities are associated with the usage of smart devices. However, while the possession of smart devices is prevalent, less than one third of passengers used them during travel. A variety of...

Redesigning Subway Map to Mitigate Bottleneck Congestion: An Experiment in Washington DC Using Mechanical Turk, Guo, Zhan, Zhao Jinhua, Whong Chris, Mishra Prachee, and Wyman Lance , Transportation Research Part A, (Submitted)

This paper explores the possibility of using subway maps as a planning tool to influence passengers’ route choices in order to mitigate bottleneck congestion. Specifically, it tests whether extending an overcrowded subway line on the Washington DC subway map would switch passengers to other underutilized lines. The experiment was conducted through the Mechanical Turk, a crowdsourcing platform, with 3,056 participants, producing 21,240 route choice decisions on the official and six...

Quality of Travel Time Use: Definition and Measurement, Rosenfield, Adam, and Zhao Jinhua , Transportation Research Board 96th Annual Meeting, (2017)

Transportation project appraisals typically assume that travel time is of negative utility, though a growing body of literature reinforces the idea of positive utility of travel beyond simply access to a destination. While the potential to use time productively is one way of ‘reclaiming’ travel time, little research has investigated how the quality of productive travel time may vary across travelers and trip environments. This paper presents a framework on the quality of time use, grounded...


Neema Nassir's picture
Postdoc Associate
Adam Rosenfield's picture
MST/MCP Student
Abhishek Basu's picture
MST Student
Jinhua Zhao's picture
Edward H. and Joyce Linde Assistant Professor