Measuring the Incorporation of Mobile Phone into Everyday Life and Travel Behaviour: Methodology and Main Results of a Survey



Measuring the Incorporation of Mobile Phone into Everyday Life and Travel Behaviour: Methodology and Main Results of a Survey

Authors

A Aguilera, IFSTTAR, FR; C Guillot, Telecom ParisTech - ECOGE, FR; L Belton-Chevallier, L Proulhac, LVMT, FR

Description

This communications presents the methodology and results of a survey measuring the incorporation of mobile phone into travel behaviour and its relationships with the flexibilisation of everyday life and the blurring between family and working life.

Abstract

The widespread use of mobile technologies and especially mobile phones holds the potential to transform everyday life and especially travel behaviour in many complex dimensions. In particular, the fact that, in most situations, mobile phones can be used when people are on the move or, more generally, outside homeplace and workplace, offers a sort of spatio-temporal continuity for everyday activities. This situation can contribute to transform physical mobility and thus everyday life in many dimensions: mobile phone usage can make travel time more efficient, it can also help people to change and/or optimize their travel route. Mobile phone usage while travelling makes also people more likely to shorten their planning horizon and to adopt more flexible lifestyles: indeed, they can call when they are late, when they have forgotten the shopping list, they can meet friends more spontaneously, etc. In addition, spatio-temporal continuity offered by mobile phone can contribute to blur the boundaries between family life and working life.

However, one major difficulty lies in the measurement of spatio-temporal continuity, flexibilisation of life and blurring between private and professional. This communications aims at presenting the methodology and main results of an original survey of 2,000 French adults made in the spring 2008 in the framework of the MOBITIC project founded by the French National Agency for Research (ANR). The project aimed at building indicators that could help measuring the relationships between mobile phone use, mobility and everyday life.
The first part of the communication presents the indicators that have been built for the MOBITIC project. A first group of indicators relates to the concept of spatio-temporal continuity and describes the attitudes towards mobile phone use when people are on the move and in particular locations (airports, etc.). A second group of indicators relates to the flexibilisation of life. A third group of indicators measures the blurring between private and professional life.

The second part of the communication shows how these indicators can be used to measure the progressive incorporation of mobile phone into travel behaviour and its relationships with the flexibilisation of everyday life and the blurring of the boundaries between family life and working life. The empirical analysis is based on a survey The survey provides elements about the use of mobile phone especially during travel (in the street, in a car, in public transport), and also in a certain number of places (like in airports). People are also asked whether the mobile phone helps them to travel and to orientate in space. We can also appreciate the flexibility of life and the separation between private and professional life of the respondents (mobile phone users and non-users).

Four groups of people are compared: a group of non-users, and three groups of mobile phone users: the first group has a mobile phone for less than two years, the second between two and five years, and the third group owns a mobile phone for more than five years.
The main findings are:

1- The more the people are familiar with the mobile phone, the more they use it to communicate and coordinate with friends and family, and the more the mobile phone is incorporated into their everyday life;
2- Uses on the move are different between the three groups of users. The more people are familiar with the mobile phone, the more they use it while on the move. First, they are more likely to answer phone calls. It means that they make themselves progressively more reachable during travel. Second, they are also more likely to make phone calls during travel. However the difference between the three groups is greater when they travel by car than by public transport or when they are walking on the street;
3- The longer the people have owned a mobile phone, the more they use it to orientate in space and the more they consider that mobile phone helps them to travel;
4- The process of flexibilisation of everyday life and of blurring between family and working life is growing with the duration of ownership. In addition, the results of our survey suggest that the flexibility of everyday life is greater for mobile phone users than for non-users.

The conclusion proposes directions for future research in this field.

Publisher

Association for European Transport