In the last 15 years an increasing number of studies argued that the disutility that we usually attach to travel can be reduced by attributing useful or enjoyable activities to journeys. Multitasking while travelling may fundamentally change the way travel time is valued in the assessment of transport projects and policies. While conventional travel diaries often neglect auxiliary activities during travel, time use research provides a detailed account of activities during each segment of travel. In this paper we present the initial results of the analysis of a large scale time use survey to provide additional empirical evidence for the use of travel time for other activities that might have an impact on how travel time is valued. In addition we consider how a time use survey not specifically designed to capture auxiliary activities while travelling can be applied and adapted for this purpose. Data was collected using the Modular Online Time Use Survey (MOTUS) from the Dutch-speaking population of Flanders, Belgium. 3260 people filled in an online diary for seven days registering all activities including any secondary activities. We found that the proportion of multitasking activities registered is somewhat lower than in previous studies, probably due to underreporting. Our results show that the majority of auxiliary activities are passive (listening to the radio or music). The proportion of ‘productive’ activities (working, studying) is relatively low because they can only be carried out on a public transport vehicle or as a car passenger and the modal share of them is low in the region (6% and 14% respectively). We highlight, however, the high frequency of socially relevant activities like having a conversation with a family member or friends. Some recommendations on the further adaptation of time use surveys to register multitasking are also given.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 14th International Conference on Travel Behaviour Research
PublisherInternational Association for Travel Behaviour Research
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event14th International Conference on Travel Behaviour Research - Windsor, United Kingdom
Duration: 19 Jul 201523 Jul 2015


Conference14th International Conference on Travel Behaviour Research
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • travel behaviour
  • multitasking
  • time-use data


Dive into the research topics of 'Is travel time wasted? Evidence from a time use survey in Flanders, Belgium'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this