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Telecommunications is much more than a highway, and transportation provides far more than communications.
--- John S. Niles, President

Telecommunications and Travel Behavior

Key conclusions from the work below:  Telecommunications is not a mode of transportation, because telecom is different in kind from transport.  Transport provides face-to-face proximity, and telecom does not.  Telecom offers electronic proximity, which is different in a number of specific ways than physical proximity.

However, electronic proximity has many characteristics that with skill in application can make it better than being there for specific applications.  The relatively high cost of transportation makes the on-going quest for electronic near-substitutes and  alternatives very worthwhile. 

At the same time, physical proximity is intrinsically and permanently superior to electronic proximity for many kinds of human interactions and relationships, which is why the quest to make transportation more effective, efficient, and affordable is also important.  Being there by going there physically is often a preference, if not critically important.

While there are many instances of trips being replaced by electronic interaction, research on the overall modern economy indicates that travel and transport are generally complementary: the growth of one feeds the growth of the other.  Applications of telecommunications are fundamental to decision making on where and when to travel.  Know before you go. 

Southern California Telecommunications Deployment Strategy report

Southern California Telecommunications Deployment Strategy, developed by Global Telematics and Ellen Williams & Associates, Inc.
Aimed at reducing air pollution through telecommunications.
Final report won a first place PRo Award from the Public Communicators of Los Angeles.

Telecommuting and Telework

telecommuting and traffic congestion impacts

Beyond Telecommuting, a report prepared by Global Telematics and published in 1994 by the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy  This study included a special sector study of tele-health.
Explains the relationship between telecommunications and travel, and why in many cases, how telecommunications affects what you are doing is more important than how it affects where you are doing it.

Telephone: 1-206-781-4475
Office: 4005 20th Avenue West, Suite 111
Seattle, Washington 98199-1290 USA


Last modified, November 12, 2013