The interpretation of travel time in economic terms has played a fundamental part in shaping our transport systems. The time consumed in order to travel to a destination has been seen as the price paid for fulfilling the purpose of reaching that destination. By interpreting travel time as a disutility or burden, transport policy has been driven by the goal of quicker journeys. Drawing upon multidisciplinary literature and new qualitative research, this paper articulates an alternative perspective. It suggests that travel time, at least for the individual, can (sometimes) be perceived and experienced as a gift rather than a burden. This is examined in the context of (co-present) participation in social networks and in terms of two forms of travel time experience from which positive utility can be derived: transition time and time out – both facilitated or supported by a third notion, namely equipped time.
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