ITS reports on the valuation of travel time savings published by the Department for Transport

The Department for Transport today published several reports undertaken for them by the Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) at the University of Leeds.

Valuing travel time and reliability remains a key component of the appraisal of transport schemes. The most recent UK national value of time study was conducted nearly twenty years ago before the internet revolution and other changes in working and commuting practices. The two main reports published today examine the evidence on the value of travel time savings for journeys made on employers business and for journeys made for commuting and leisure purposes.

The business travel study led by ITS is the most extensive and authoritative review yet undertaken and finds that there are many determinants of the valuation of travel time savings for this purpose of which ability to work during travel is just one. The study recommended that the Department should update its values given the many social, economic and demographic changes since they were last rebased in 2003 and the Department has accepted and implemented that recommendation. The study also put forward a range of research options to improve our understanding of the combined employer/employee value of travel time savings.

Regarding commuting and leisure travel time savings, the Department commissioned ITS to lead a scoping study of what needed to be done. The study recommended a new national study to update appraisal values using modern statistical modelling methods as has been undertaken in countries such as the Netherlands and Sweden. As well as providing revised overall values of time to inform public value for money from roads and transport, better assessment of the value of improved travel reliability, small time changes and the value of time and reliability changes for the logistics sector were identified as important specific areas for attention.

Professor Mark Wardman said today ‘I am very pleased that the Department has accepted many of our conclusions and recommendations including the commissioning of new studies to reassess the values used in transport appraisal and reduce the margin of uncertainty.’


Wardman, M., Batley, R., Laird, J., Mackie, P., Fowkes, T., Lyons, G., Bates, J. & Eliasson, J. (2013) Valuation of Travel Time Savings for Business Travellers, Main Report. Prepared for the Department for Transport.

Batley, R., Mackie, P., Bates, J., Fowkes, T., Hess, S., de Jong, G., Wardman, M. and Fosgerau, M. (2010) Updating Appraisal Values for Travel Time Savings, Phase 1 Study. Report to the Department for Transport.

29 October 2013

Contact: Professor Mark Wardman, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, Tel 079848 43100, M.R.Wardman(at)