Positive: Bike Lights Playful Everywhere Greggs vs. Pret Guardian comment generator Consult less, do more! More things for Leeds! Cartoons PubQuest: Birmingham

Politics: Industrial Strategy. Counting households. 1. Counting households. 2. Leeds Growth Strategy 1. Imagination not needed. Part 1. Imagination not needed. Part 2. Imagination not needed. Part 3. Calderdale Digital Strategy The Value of Time Inclusive growth. NIMBYs cause the housing crisis Innovation on buses. Fifa and the right Ward explorer Income by MSOA Heathrow and localism In defence of the € The BBC in Manchester What works (growth) Maths of inequality GDP mystery Liberal protectionists 5 types of EU voter Why Birmingham fails Who is London? Researching research Heathrow Car free Birmingham North-South divide: we never tried Imitating Manchester Asylum responsibilities The NorthernPowerhouse Centralism and Santa Claus STEM vs STEAM Replacing UK steel The State of the North, 2015 Adonis is wrong on housing The Economist & Scotland The Economist & The North The future of University BBC Bias? Yorkshire backwards London makes us poor Northern rail consultation What holds us back? Move the Lords! Saving the Union Summing it up

Tech: Tap to pay. Open Data in Birmingham Defending Uber BusTracker Building a TechNation How the UK holds back TechNorth GDS is Windows 8 OpenData at the BBC SimFlood SimSponge See me speak Train time map Digital Health Leeds Empties Leeds Site Allocations Building a Chrome extension I hate webkit Visualising mental health Microsoft's 5 easy wins Epson px700w reset Stay inside the Bubble

Old or incomplete: Orange price rises Cherish our Capital 1975 WYMetro Plan Dealing with NIMBYs Sponsoring the tube Gender bias calculator MetNetMaker Malaria PhD Symbian Loops Zwack Kegg Project The EU Eduroam & Windows 8 Where is science vital? The Vomcano 10 things London can shove Holbeck Waterwheel

Time is money, but how much money?

I've spent a lot of time recently working on transport economics. I am neither an economist nor a transport planner so it's been a steep learning curve. Most of the stuff I've seen makes sense, but some is worryingly poor. Maybe I just haven't understood it yet.

Today I'm sharing a very cool result I found recently. I was testing a core principle in transport economics, that time is money. It's used to calculate the potential benefits of almost every investment we make in tranasport and it crucially assumes that the relationship is linear. Saving 10 minutes is worth double what saving 5 minutes is worth. And saving 20 minutes is worth twice again.

The assumption seems reasonable. But is it true?

Time is money, but how much money?

Birmingham and London are fantastically well-connected cities. There are two motorways, along which two rival bus companies run regularly. There are two mainline railways, along which three rival train companies run regularly. Thousands of people travel from Birmingham to London each morning and the services can mostly set their own pricing. It's a free-marketer's dream!

So I looked three days in advance at how much a ticket would cost to arrive in London at 08:30am. Here's a graph,

Remember, these are five independent companies, running five independent services with unregulated prices. The market decides how much to charge and the results suggest that almost all of the difference in price can be explained by the speed of the journey.

But the relationship between time and money is not linear.

This might change a lot about how we do transport economics. Or it might change nothing. I still need to do a lot of thinking about it. But I think it's cool either way.


Thanks for reading. I always welcome comments below. I almost always respond, but I can't promise to. Oh and in case you're wondering, the orange circle on my graph is how long HS2 will take. I think a ticket will be worth around £105. Let's see.

blog comments powered by Disqus