May 22, 2009

Impact of Transportation Infrastructure on the Value of Time


James Barrett, ITS-Davis Graduate Researcher


This presentation explores the relation between the levels of transportation infrastructure and our value of time. Typically, transportation studies that report the value of time for commuters, report one value for the population or at best report values that are merely a function of income. This study suggests that our value of time is not only a function of income but also a function of other demographic variables such as age, number of children, home ownership and work schedule. But also this study claims that our value of time if a function of the current level of available transportation infrastructure and services. This hypothesis is based on the recognition that the value of any resources (e.g. time or money) is determined by its scarcity. The more scarce something is the greater the shadow value of that resource. As such, the level of transportation infrastructure and services we have available is clearly related to the constraint on our time. This study utilizes GIS and survey data in conjunction with discrete choice model to test this hypothesis. It is shown that transportation infrastructure does impact the value of time and consequently studies that ignore this impact will misprice the value of time, leading to less than optimal policy decisions.

Biographical Sketch

James Barrett is a PhD candidate at UC Davis in the Agriculture and Resource Economics department.  His primary interests relate to the impacts of transportation on the environment; in particular climate change.  He is specifically interested in the non-market costs of transportation and how the under-pricing of these costs leads to less than optimal decisions by policy makers.  He has a background in mathematics, data analysis and environmental policy. He is currently in the final stage of completing his doctoral work at UC Davis.