New technologies and travel

Project details

Full project title: The impact of non-transport technologies on travel demand

Sponsors: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Department for Transport through the UK Transport Research Centre

CTS lead investigator: Professor Glenn Lyons

CTS researcher: Christa Hubers

Project partners: Centre for Mobilities Research, Lancaster University

Start date: October 2009

Finish date: September 2013

Project briefing sheet: Download the briefing sheet document

Project summary

Travel is derived from a need or desire to participate in a huge array of activities. People's schedules of activities in turn are derived from and have an inter-dependency with social practices; and social practices are shaped, in part, by and facilitated through the emergence of various kinds of technology.

This project's starting contention is that non-transport technologies have significantly been shaping - and will continue to shape - patterns of, and the extent of, travel demand and yet such shaping remains far from fully understood in a context of a rapid and changing penetration of technologies into modern society.

There has been considerable recent work on the substitution of communications technology for travel. The focus of this project is different, however. Here attention centres on technologies that do not directly substitute for travel, but have an indirect effect through shaping different social and business practices. The impacts of such technologies are not normally taken into account in long-term travel demand forecasting. This research will thus chart past and present and especially future non-transport technologies and their (potential) impacts upon social practices and patterns of transport and mobility.

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