WTPP Abstracts: Volume 2 (1996)

Volume 2, Number 1/2 Abstracts

Volume 2, Number 3 Abstracts

Volume 2, Number 4 Abstracts


Volume 2, Number 1/2 (1996) wtpp02.1,2.pdf

What does telework really do to us?

Jack M. Niles

Presents the results of extensive surveys of about 400 telecommuters in the USA, including transportation impacts, and whether telecommuting is actually related to any net reduction in travel in general and in car use in particular. Gives findings from trip logs completed by driving age household members for an entire week. Concludes also that teleworking also has no severe negative socio-psychological effects on either teleworkers or telemanagers, at least short term and provided all parties are properly selected and trained and do not telework full-time. Touches on the differences between teleworkers in the USA and elsewhere.

The Information highway: just because we're on it doesn't mean we know where we're going

Patricia L. Mokhtarian

Looks beyond the hype surrounding telecommunications and suggests that the physical aspects of the information highway are currently short of the ideal and further, that when eventually in place, it may not be ideal. Examines some commonly held beliefs about the transportation, geographic and economic impacts of telecommunications. Suggests numerous further research and policy issues. Concludes by reminding us that telecom technology is inherently neutral. It can facilitate travel reductions and geographic decentralisation and economic development, but not alone -- we, as policy makers and consumers must have some control over the outcome; the compact city made obsolete and settlements dispersed throughout the countryside should only happen if people decide that is what they want to happen.

The social implications of telework: the UK experience

Horace Mitchell

Gives findings of extensive research into the key social implications of teleworking, carried out over the last five years in the UK. Gives examples of telework parameters at both micro and macro levels for employers to consider when making strategic decisions about siting work locations; to which part of the world he/she will contract out; or subcontract significant operations. Feels we should not concentrate on protecting existing paid workers against the perils of working at home rather than in an office, thereby failing to assess and respond to the implications of the "flight of work" from higher cost, lower skilled to lower cost, higher skilled environments. Equally we must not overprotect those in conventional employment against the "risk" that they may have to move into a newer work style.

What about the workers? Teleworking and the trade union movement

Andrew Bibby

Offers some observations on the attitudes of the established trade union movement in Europe to the development of teleworking. Home based teleworking may be solitary activity, but teleworkers are, like the rest of us, collective animals with a need to come together; to network, to exchange information and ideas and to defend their interests. Gives some possible solutions as to how teleworkers' needs may be met, including trade union involvement, although on first consideration their participation may seem unlikely. Gives details of formal, satisfactorily negotiated teleworking agreements, between trade unions and employers, from across Europe, including the UK. Suggests unions could rise tot the challenge of new forms of working, by providing services sought by self-employed members, and that the old concept of solidarity could apply between teleworkers working at home and for their own businesses.

The city in 2050: how sustainable?

Andy Lake

Looks at the evolution of new ways of working and the development of the information society, to see how these might affect the development of cities, and whether these developments based on the new information and communications technologies (ICTs) will make cities more or less "sustainable". Rather than making speculative predictions, however, the focus is on the variety of factors that have influenced, and will continue to influence, the development of cities. Its approach is somewhat heretical, or at least politically incorrect, arguing that trends to greening the city will be only one among many competing influences, some of which may be profoundly ecologically unsound.

Urban transport, information technology and sustainable development

Mattias Hoejer

Discusses how four principles of sustainable development could be implemented by the use of information technologies in the areas of urban road transport, namely, car pooling; dynamic route choice; extended public transport and a dual-mode system. Says it is important to open up a broad public debate on the options and risks that come with IT, as in a democratic society it is the voters' preferences that create the framework for politics and It development is ultimately a political issue.

Oxtail: a true story

Noel Hodson

Describes the tribulations that befell a university city's Traffic Engineer throughout his career, ranging initially from the conflict between the many cyclists/pedestrians/motor cars, to the polluted traffic-choked city centre that quickly evolved, aggravated by a motorway system that added thousands more heavy trucks an hour on to the ring road. Reveals how advice was always sought from a most unlikely source, and with hindsight shows that the advice given was not always good. Perhaps a cautionary tale?

Sustainability in an information society: view from the European Commission

Robert Pestel & Peter Johnston

Refers to the European Commission's support to an expert "working circle" charged with the task of clarifying the potential contribution of advanced communications to sustainability. There is growing public and political awareness that our economic prosperity and growth is unsustainable. The new constraints are environmental, associated with material use and transfers. Rematerialisation, in the sense of reducing the amount of material extracted from, synthesised and dispersed into, the environment per unit of GDP is therefore now the key to long-term sustainability. Warns that sustainability will not be achieved by government-led legislative action alone, nor by European-level action alone; a much broader commitment to a common purpose is necessary -- perhaps co-operation for a global information society?

Who said we wanted an information superhighway?

Robert Theobald

Looks at the possible directions in which the information superhighway could take us, considering both the benefits of increased knowledge and subsequent increased participation and also the dangers such as the excess of raw information. Suggests that this information needs to be structured and packaged if it is to have a positive effect. Considers these points in a global sense in terms of humanity as a whole.

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Volume 2, Number 3 (1996) wtpp02.3.pdf

Can technology save us?

John Adams

Asks the reader to: assume there is incredible technological progress in endeavours to solve problems of energy scarcity, pollution and congestion; imagine a super Super Car powered by a pollution-free perpetual motion engine; imagine a super Internet which provides free and efficient access to all the databases and libraries in the world. The result would be a social and environmental disaster -- unless at the same time humankind manages to curb the appetites which are driving the steeply rising growth curves of material consumption and physical and electronic mobility. Argues that the technological enterprises that are currently consuming the lion's share of resources directed to the solution of transport problems are relaxing important constraints on these appetites. Concludes that the principal barrier to a morally and politically sustainable transport policy is the belief that there are technical solutions for these problems.

Subverting sustainability? Infrastructural and cultural barriers to cycle use in Accra

Jeff Turner, Margaret Grieco & E.A. Kwakye

Reports on in-depth qualitative interviews with bicycle owners and non-bicycle owners in Nima and Jamestown, Accra, Ghana. Also draws on two other surveys of transport patterns and travel behaviour in Accra. Finds a negative attitude towards cyclists. Argues that the implementation of dedicated infrastructure for bicycles may require a significant level of enforcement for success.

The future of public transport: the dangers of viewing policy through rose-tinted spectacles

Mayer Hillman

Improved public transport services are generally viewed as the most effective means of encouraging transfer from the car, especially on urban journeys. Accordingly, substantial funds are being invested to this end. Demonstrates that such an approach achieves little of this transfer. By comparing patterns of travel in Britain and the Netherlands, shows that the prioritising of walking and cycling is not only far more effective and cost-effective in achieving the transfer, but also is likely to deliver a wide range of social, health and environmental objectives of public policy additional to those related to transport. There must therefore be a presumption in favour of investment in networks for walking and cycling and in other measures enabling journeys to be made by these non-motorised modes well in advance of investment in public transport.

Road infrastructure investment in Bangladesh: environment under threat?

John Howe

Bangladesh's attempts to support and expand a road network are, relative to its wealth and agricultural land, far in excess of its Asian neighbours. The dubious grounds for such a policy are belied by its unsustainability from inadequate maintenance, significant environmental and social dis-benefits, namely the loss of scarce land through road construction which leads directly to increased poverty, and destruction of dwindling forest resources. Argues that prominence given to road construction should be questioned, especially in view of the country's rich endowment of waterways and non-motorised forms of transport which are less environmentally destructive.

Assessing the costs and benefits of cycle networks

Tony Hathway

Non-motorised transport can make an important contribution to improving environmental quality and enhancing personal mobility. Too often bicycles are seen as a hindrance to other traffic and the planning and evaluation of transport proposals often focusses on this negative side and underplays the many indirect benefits. The costs that might accrue if cyclists were to transfer to motor vehicles is not assessed. Research in Pune, India, demonstrates that the true benefits of a cycle network far outweigh the costs. Reviews recent approaches to bicycle planning in Europe and Asia, and examines in-depth the cycle network in Pune and assesses its costs and benefits. Analyses the process of evaluation which is used to obtain project funding and recommends an alternative approach to project appraisal.

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Volume 2, Number 4 (1996) wtpp02.4.pdf

Assessing traffic-generated "dread" risk

Alan G. Hallsworth, Colin Black, David Evans & Rodney Tolley

The decision process behind observed individual behaviour is known to be a complex one. This is especially so when aspects of that same behaviour are apparently contradictory. Introduces a measurement scale for revealing underlying motivations for behaviour. Focusses on the trip to school by car; apparently favoured by individuals on safety grounds, however, it also leads to extra trips and therefore increases car-borne pollution. Tests the scale in a survey involving British geography undergraduates.

The impact of improved ferry services on an island economy: the case of Mull

Hugh M. Begg, Bob Henderson, Peter Tyler & Colin Warnock

Sets out the methodology developed to establish the impact of an enhanced ferry service on the Island of Mull in Scotland. The work on which it is based was undertaken for the (former) Scottish Office Industry Department in co-operation with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Caledonian Macbrayne Ltd. Their principal concern was the impact of operating and capital subsidies made available to CalMac as operator of services throughout the Western Isles. The research improves understanding of ways in which transport infrastructure can enhance the prospects for remote rural communities and the local economies on which they depend.

A path out of the wilderness?

Angus W. Witherby

The discipline of transport planning is in conceptual disarray, yet the techniques and models of yesteryear continue to be applied. Argues that we need a new conceptual framework for deciding what methods to apply and how to apply them to produce liveable cities. Concludes that eco-relational thinking may offer a useful framework.

Placebo or panacea? Rural transport corridors: some social and environmental issues

Amanda Root and William J. Fielding

Travel poverty, defined as "inadequate access to choice in relation to travel", is faced by those who cannot travel as much as they would like, or who have inadequate local amenities, reducing options about travel. The context for this study is increasing rural car use and by policies which directly or indirectly promote it, damaging the quality of live and the environment and lessening the safety of public space. Presents evidence from a study of two rural villages indicating that the development of public transport corridors might, in some circumstances and to some extent, meet sustainability (i.e. environmental, equity and participation) objectives. Also discusses possible limits to the effectiveness and potential disadvantages of developing rural public transport corridors. Raises the particular effectiveness of rail corridors in meeting environmental objectives.

Freight transport, food production and consumption in the USA and Europe (or, how far can you ship a bunch of onions in the USA?)

Stefanie Böge

Focuses on freight transportation, food supply and consumer behaviour in the USA and Europe, especially Germany. Finds that on both sides of the Atlantic, in freight transportation and food supply there are many differences as well as similarities. The main differences are that the USA has a bigger land area and larger, more concentrated economic units. Naturally, therefore, one finds a higher volume of long distance freight transport than in Europe. Similarities can be observed such as the trend towards privatisation and liberalisation, to more extended suburbanisation or to an unreflected way of consumer behaviour. In addition raises some new questions: is the "technical solution" of environmental problems the only way? What can be cone to include lifestyles and consumer behaviour into a new strategy?

Car-free households: who lives without an automobile today?

Ulrike Reutter & Oscar Reutter

Considers methods to reduce private car ownership. Argues that conventional strategies are approaching the limits of their efficacy. Concludes that the solution lies in implementing car-free zones.

Road construction and economic growth from a southern European perspective

Gianni Silvestrini

Claims that economic development should be decoupled from transport growth, as conventional economic growth stimulates demand for transportation infrastructure, particularly roads, with consequent environmental repercussions. Feels that potential impact on the environment should be assessed, particularly in relation to global warming. Explores alternative solutions to building new roads and gives examples from Spain, Italy, Austria and Switzerland.