, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 941-956

Working on the train: from ‘dead time’ to productive and vital time

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Abstract

The conventional approach to the study of travel time is to see it as ‘dead time’, i.e. time that should be minimized. In this paper, we study time-use on trains, especially in relation to the use of information and communication technology for work purposes. The empirical results are based on a survey of rail travellers in Norway in 2008. It was found that a high proportion of ordinary commuters and business people work on board while travelling by train, i.e. 35 % of commuters and 43 % of business people. Nearly every fourth commuter gets their travel time approved as working hours. Most respondents had some sort of electronic device with them on board, and 25 % travelling for work-related purposes use a laptop computer. Only 10 % report that their travel time is of no use. Knowledge of how travel time is utilized is indispensable in the discussion about the evaluation of travel time in cost-benefit analysis. The use of travel time can also be important for choice of transport mode in the assessment of travel time versus work options.