Destination Choice and the Need to Travel



Destination Choice and the Need to Travel

Authors

BATES J, John Bates Services, UK

Description

In August 1997 the newly-established UK Department of Environmenh Transport and the Regions (DETR) issued a consultation document entitled "Developing art Integrated Transport Policy". As this paper is being written, a new White Paper is being fiaalised.

Abstract

In August 1997 the newly-established UK Department of Environmenh Transport and the Regions (DETR) issued a consultation document entitled "Developing art Integrated Transport Policy". As this paper is being written, a new White Paper is being fiaalised. It is clear that a number of difficult balances need to be achieved. The Consultation Paper notes the need to balance "our desire for cheap, accessible transport with the need to reengnise the long-term costs to the environment." [13 7]. Reference is also made to "the basic accessibility needs of all sectors of society" [p 8], while "the Goveituuent is committed to facilitating the mobility of the British people in an ecouomically and environmentaly sustainable framework".

A phrase much used in current transport policy, particularly in relation to issues of "sustainability', is '~educing the need to travel". Unfortunately, this seemingly innocuous concept is rarely defined, and without a clear understanding of what it should mean, it is likely to remain a pious hope for policy-makers while allowing travellers to continue in their ways, convinced that their jonmeys are "necessary".

Implied by the phrase are three sources of hope in particular:

i) that people will travel less far

ii) that people will travel less often

iii) that more of the travel which is undertaken will be by more enviromentally friendly" modes - in practice, this means a shift away from the oar.

At the same time as politians hope to redu0e travel need, there is a concern that accessibility should in some way be enhanced (as noted above). Accessibility also remains an elusive concept, though recent efforts have been made to tighten up the definition.

The aim of this paper is stimulate some fundemental discussion about destination choice and hence a possible definition of need. While the ideas are by no means fully worked out, it bu'dds on some theoretical work developed by the author within a recent study carried out by the David Simmonds Consultanoy on "Accessibility as a Criterion for Project and Policy Appraisal" for the DETR. The indebtedness to the discussion of destination choice given bY Ben-Akiva & Letman (1985, ยค9) in terms of random utility models will also be clear.

Publisher

Association for European Transport