The valuation of travel time savings in least developed countries: theoretical and empirical challenges and results from a field study

Farhad Ahmed, Kirit Vaidya

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceUnpublished Conference Paperpeer-review


In developed countries travel time savings can account for as much as 80% of the overall benefits arising from transport infrastructure and service improvements. In developing countries they are generally ignored in transport project appraisals, notwithstanding their importance. One of the reasons for ignoring these benefits in the developing countries is that there is insufficient empirical evidence to support the conventional models for valuing travel time where work patterns, particularly of the poor, are diverse and it is difficult to distinguish between work and non-work activities. The exclusion of time saving benefits may lead to a bias against investment decisions that benefit the poor and understate the poverty reduction potential of transport investments in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). This is because the poor undertake most travel and transport by walking and headloading on local roads, tracks and paths and improvements of local infrastructure and services bring large time saving benefits for them through modal shifts. The paper reports on an empirical study to develop a methodology for valuing rural travel time savings in the LDCs. Apart from identifying the theoretical and empirical issues in valuing travel time savings in the LDCs, the paper presents and discusses the results of an analysis of data from Bangladesh. Some of the study findings challenge the conventional wisdom concerning the time saving values. The Bangladesh study suggests that the western concept of dividing travel time savings into working and non-working time savings is broadly valid in the developing country context. The study validates the use of preference methods in valuing non-working time saving values. However, stated preference (SP) method is more appropriate than revealed preference (RP) method.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Event10th world conference on transport research - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 4 Jul 20048 Jul 2004


Conference10th world conference on transport research
Abbreviated titleWCTR '04


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