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

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.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. We thank Glenn Lyons and his colleagues for sharing this information with us.

  2. Comparing parameter estimates is not possible because of scale differences.

  3. Comparing parameter estimated is not possible because of scale differences.

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Acknowledgments

This paper is one of the results from the Strategic Institute Program—the interplay between transport, mobility and ICT of the Institute of Transport Economics. The authors would like to thank the guest editors and the anonymous referees for very useful comments.

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Correspondence to Randi Hjorthol.

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Gripsrud, M., Hjorthol, R. Working on the train: from ‘dead time’ to productive and vital time. Transportation 39, 941–956 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11116-012-9396-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11116-012-9396-7

Keywords

  • ICT
  • Norway
  • Survey
  • Time-use
  • Train
  • Work