Anytime, Anywhere and Always on the Move? - the Potential of ICT to Shape Travel Behaviour

Anytime, Anywhere and Always on the Move? - the Potential of ICT to Shape Travel Behaviour


B Lenz, Humbold University and DLR, DE



In the coming decades the dynamics of travel behaviour and travel demand in industrialized countries will probably be influenced by several major trends:
? changing societal structures (in particular ageing of the society, changing roles of women and men, increase in small households)
? ongoing globalisation of the economy
? technological developments in the transportation sector
? increase in needs for communication via information and communication technologies (ICT).

The latter has been subject to speculation, but also to considerable theoretical and empirical research. Most studies, so far, have focussed on particular areas of ICT use, like for example telework or e-commerce, and its effects on travel underlying the assumption of a direct relationship between communication and travel behaviour. The measurable effects, however, were quite small and did not fit the expectations of important substitution effects at all.

The observation that the relationship between communication and travel behaviour is more complex than originally expected has lead researchers to approaches that start from the basic idea that technological developments, both in the travel and especially in the communication sector, increase flexibility, thus enabling a fundamental reorganisation of activities. The particular option of new communication technologies lies in the fragmentation of activities in time and space: You can start work in your office, then take it with you on your laptop on a trip by train, then finish it in the evening at home. During that time you can be reached easily by anybody as you have your mobile phone with you.

It is obvious that activities can be performed at any place and at any time, and many people have already experienced that spatial and temporal fragmentation of activities really happens. Assumptions about the effects of fragmentation on travel say it will cause both quantitative and qualitative changes and will lead to an increase in travel.

The contribution will discuss the current approaches on the potential of ICT to shape travel behaviour. It will explore the expected degree of changes from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective and it will underpin its saying with findings from recent empirical studies.


Association for European Transport