It probably goes without saying that we can’t talk about the new mobility without talking about ICTs. As the locus of social groups has shifted from neighbourhoods and workplaces to ICT social networks, the division between work and leisure and between physical and virtual spaces are no longer clear. But the relationship between the virtual and physical worlds is complementary rather than zero-sum; virtual communication has not eliminated the need for face-to-face contact, but instead created a greater need for in-person meetings to reinforce relationships established virtually. Because of this, the rise in social networks and ICTs may lead to an increase in transportation needs and services.
The unmooring of activities from specific locations has made mobility patterns more flexible, less structured and less predictable, which of course makes understanding them that much more difficult. ICTs stimulate travel and increase efficiency, as for example with the shipping of goods and smart warehousing, and allow for both “top-down” (online trip planners) and “bottom-up” (user generated information) interaction with the transport system in real time.
Specifically, three direct and indirect impacts of social networks and ICTs on travel behaviour can be identified: 1) changes in travel behaviour as ICTs are used to maintain social networks; 2) the influence of ICTs on social interaction which in turn influence travel patterns; and 3) changes in travel patterns as the use of ICTs impacts the relationship between social interaction and physical mobility.
ICTs have transformed the spaces we live in and the mobility we use to shuttle within and between those spaces. The upcoming MIND-SETS approach and subsequent guidelines will offer a more detailed exploration of how.
For more information, contact Pnina Plaut of Technion