Understanding Travel Behavior Essay

Pages: 10 (3062 words)  ·  Style: Harvard  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Transportation  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … Travel Behaviour

"The concept of 'mobilities' encompasses both the large-scale movements of people, objects, capital, and information across the world, as well as the more local processes of daily transportation, movement through public space, and the travel of material things within everyday life"

Howard Rheingold (2004, ¶ 5).


For a person to work; to socialize; to live, he must continually move; engage in mobility. Even though mobilities may not be entirely new, nevertheless they now reportedly depict a new code word for one to grasp the global, as well as the new, extensive ways one lives. In the book, Mobility, Peter Adey (2010), lecturer in cultural geography at Keele University, contends that mobilities occur from the time one awakens and arises out of bed, a physical displacement; as he moves various limbs. To get to work, the process requires numerous kinds of mobility. With a vertical mobility form, an individual may walk out of his building and utilize the stairs or elevator on the way down. Other forms of mobility include, but are not limited to transportation by automobile; bus; train; airplane; ship: walking.

During this two-part paper, the researcher provides a description of what the concept of "mobilities" means. During the first part of the paper, the researcher discusses the characteristics, significance, strengths and weaknesses of the concept of mobility. For the second section of this paper, the researcher discusses how mobilities may enhance one's understanding of why people might walk. The researcher also explores implications for providing transport to encourage walking.

In the article, "Walking the talk: As someone who enjoys being out and about, it's been interesting to reflect on how my own mobility and use of public spaces has changed in the last 10 years," Deborah Fox (2008), Director of the Public Sector Programme, Forum for the Future, the sustainable development charity explains that as mobility depicts the capability to move, many individuals desire to their cars at times. Attitudes regarding cars, however, are reportedly somewhat shifting. During 1963, Buchanan predicted that by 2010, those in Britain would be driving 40 million vehicles. In 2005 however, only 15 million individuals in the UK actually had access to a car. In addition to the World Wide Web, reasons contributing to the decreased number of individuals driving cars in Britain include car clubs and car sharing steadily growing. Car Plus, for example, reports that more than 36,000 members use its 1300 cars. Over 200,000 members subscribe to Liftshare.com, a car-sharing system (Fox 2008).

In the article, "Measuring Transportation Traffic, Mobility and Accessibility," Todd Litman (2008), Victoria Transport Policy Institute, offers another consideration of mobility:

Mobility refers to the movement of people or goods. It assumes that "travel" means person- or ton-miles, "trip" means person- or freight-vehicle trip. It assumes that any increase in travel mileage or speed benefits society. & #8230;From this perspective, transport users are mainly motorists, since most person- and ton miles are by motor vehicle, but recognizes that some people rely on non-automobile modes, and some areas have large numbers of transit, rideshare and cycling trips. (Litman 2008, p. 4 )

Litman (2008) explains that approximately 5% of trips are made entirely by non -- a lot is a heightened motorized modes. Four to six times as many trips, however, typically consist of the individual atsome time walking or cycling on public right-of-way. In a similar sense, even though, individuals make merely only 2% of to total trips by public transit in the United States (U.S.), approximately 5% of U.S., adults report they mostly rely on public transit for transport, with 12% reporting that they utilized public transit at least once during the two months prior to one study Litman analyzed. According to a U.K .survey, "walking represents 2.8% of total mileage, 17.7% of travel time, and 24.7% of trips. & #8230; If measured simply in terms of distance, walking seems insignificant, but not if evaluated in terms of trips, travel time, or exposure to street environments" (Litman 2008, p. 8). Consequently, as one experiences activities not just only by the distance traveled, but also by the amount of time they require, walking conditions may significantly impact the way an individual perceives the transportation system and/or the local environment. Table 1 depicts the Average annual travel by a number of modes in the UK.

Table 1: Average Annual Travel by Mode, UK (Litman 2008, p. 8).


Travel Times



























Car or Truck Driver





Car or Truck Passenger






Other Private Vehicles






Public Transit








Walking, according to Litman (2008), reflects only 2.8% of personal mileage, yet denotes a bigger segment of trips and travel time.

Characteristics of the Mobilities Concept

One could not get to work or to where he could obtain the closest source of food without mobility. Without mobility, one could not remain healthy and fit. In summary and in definition, mobility continues to remain elusive. Adey (2010), albeit, considers mobility to be a lived relation; appearing similarly to the notions of space or time. "The mobility of something moving through space seems to provide a very certain kind of position, standpoint or way of relating -- it is a way of addressing people, objects, things and places. & #8230;Mobility is a concept; it is conceived" (Adey, Preface). Mobility, something one does and experiences almost constantly, is not, nevertheless, entirely new.

Missi Zahoransky (2009), Acting Director, MOT Program, and Part-Time Faculty, Cleveland State University, concurs that the mobilities concept proves significant in the article, "Community Mobility: It's Not Just Driving Anymore" explains that community mobility may be accomplished in a number of ways, including, but not limited to the following:

Walking with or without the use of an ambulation aid, such as a cane or walker

Using wheeled mobility devices (i.e., bicycle, motorcycle)

Using a powered device, such as a power wheelchair or scooter

Riding as a passenger, with a family, friend, or caregiver as primary transport

Driving oneself in a vehicle that may or may not be adapted

Using public transportation, such as taxi, bus, van, subway, airplane, and other transit systems. (Zahoransky 2009, What Is Community Mobility? Section, ¶ 2)

Significance of the Mobilities Concept

One could not live without mobility as it is vital (Adey 2010). Zahoransky stresses:

Mobility has a high importance to issues of everyday life and the long-term life plan. However abstract the category is first, so great is the potential that it makes available to the subjective meaning. It has a key function for the ratio of a person with their environment, first by the growth and expansion, and secondly, the coordination of key social systems allows, in which a person moves, namely family and work. It is both a normative requirement and part of her personal conception of the good life. To the extent to which entangled the notion of mobility of the central questions of life, with its economic, technical and social conditions, it is relevant to a psychological phenomenon. (Zahoransky 2009, What Is Community Mobility? Section, ¶ 1)

Strengths of the Mobilities Concept

Often, due to an abundance of other basic activities of daily living (BADLs) deficits, in the realm of occupational therapy intervention, community mobility, an instrumental activity of daily living (IADL), may be overlooked. Community mobility, defined by the American Occupational Therapy Association, consists of "moving around in the community and using public or private transportation, such as driving, walking, bicycling, or accessing and riding in buses, taxi cabs, or other transportation systems" (Zahoransky 2009, What Is Community Mobility? Section, ¶ 2). Typically, community mobility encompasses driving, mass transportation, and pedestrian travel, which includes walking and biking. Weaknesses of the Mobilities Concept

In regard to a long-term direction to mobilities, there appears to be a dearth in considerations. The need exists to build up plausible and attractive visions of what a sustainable world might involve (Fox 2008) in regard to mobilities. The understanding of the relationship of the environment with mobility also needs to be strengthened (Zahoransky 2009).

Todd Litman (2008), Victoria Transport Policy Institute proposes another potential mobility weakness in the article, "Measuring Transportation Traffic, Mobility and Accessibility." Litman explains that various measurement methods may not yield identical impressions regarding an activity, group or person. "Different measurement units represent different perspectives and assumptions" (Litman, Introduction section, p. 2). As no one method or unit reflects all the information one needs for evaluation, this particular issue may or may not constitute a valid concern.


Understanding Mobilities

Mobilities consist of more than merely moving things around. Philip E. Steinberg and Rob Shields (2008) explain in the article, "What is a city?: Rethinking the urban after Hurricane Katrina," that access to mobility "is uneven across locations and unequal cross social class and status,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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