Report of the One Hundred and Twenty Seventh Round Table on Transport Economics: held in Paris on 4th-5th December 2003 on the following topic : Time and transport

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For the majority of transport policies and projects, time savings rank among the most important benefits. Consequently, time valuation standards and conventions play a crucial role in the evaluation of transport policies and infrastructure investment projects. This Round Table revisited the extended literature on the valuation of passenger time and discussed the under-researched topic of the value of time in freight transport. It assessed the increased value of time in international freight transport, given the trend towards globalisation. In particular, urban planners are concerned that an overvaluation of passenger time could give rise to excessive urban infrastructure investment which would induce low-density development of cities and urban sprawl. Transport policy measures that increase the speed and reliability of freight transport not only reduce its direct costs but have strong effects on inventory policies, logistics and even the location of firms. As recent empirical studies show, variations in time requirements for international transport, and increasingly short product and fashion cycles, have an influence on the pattern of foreign direct investment and international trade flows. Rational transport policy decision making has to take account of these indirect effects.

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Types of trade costs
The role of time

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