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Making plans or "just thinking about the trip"? Understanding people's travel planning in practice
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Environmental Strategies Research (fms). School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Centres, KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Centres, Centre for Sustainable Communications, CESC.
2014 (English)In: Journal of Transport Geography, ISSN 0966-6923, E-ISSN 1873-1236, Vol. 35, 30-39 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

ICT solutions have been proposed as a means for changing environmentally unfavourable traffic behaviour by providing better, real-time and more accessible travel information. However, prevailing models of travel choice and travel behaviour tend to overemphasise the impact and importance of information and the individualistic perspective. The issue of choice and travel planning in everyday life situations, and how information is used and acted on in these processes, was examined in a qualitative study in Stockholm, Sweden. Practice Theory was used as the theoretical framework for the study. Interviews were supplemented with an explorative diary and photo assignment to bring unreflected choices and actions of planning travel to the conscious level.

The results showed that travel planning involves the immediate situation where planning and decisions are made, but also aspirations, cognitive/time/material limitations, social norms and social relations that extend widely in time and space. Definitions of travel planning and travel information based on the situated practices of planning are suggested. In the muddle of everyday life, travel planning takes place in the brief moments where circumstances at different levels – time, place, the social realm - interact and are considered or directly acted upon. In the development of new ICT-based travel information services, the role of technology in changing normal practices should be considered.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2014. Vol. 35, 30-39 p.
Keyword [en]
Travel planning, travel information, sustainable social practices, practice theory
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-141154DOI: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2014.01.003ISI: 000347369700004Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84893636236OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-141154DiVA: diva2:696164
Funder
VINNOVA
Note

QC 20140224

Available from: 2014-02-13 Created: 2014-02-10 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Making travel sustainable with ICT?: The social practice of travel planning and travel information use in everyday life
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Making travel sustainable with ICT?: The social practice of travel planning and travel information use in everyday life
2014 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Adopting the perspective of the traveller, this thesis examines how travel plans are actually made in the everyday situation and how information is used and drawn on when planning the many, often unremarkable, trips of ordinary urban life. Ethnographical field studies in southern Stockholm, Sweden, employing a practice theory perspective showed that people use a vast mixture of different types of information when planning and making trips. Therefore, the concept of travel information should be defined broadly enough to encompass informal, formal, analogue and digital types of travel information. Then, and only then, is it possible to perceive the interactions between these and see their potential as a change factor for sustainable city travel. In relation to this, situations when travel information was not used, were also identified in the qualitative data and are acknowledged and discussed in the thesis.

Travel planning is in everyday practice undertaken little by little, squeezed in between other activities of daily life. It is a process more extended in time, space and content than the limited search for information about the best way to get from A to B, assumed and facilitated in many existing travel information services. Travel planning is closely connected to the overall scheduling of activities (planning of life) and thus spans much larger time frames than the single trip. Planning travel also includes consideration of issues such as preparations needed (things to be done before departure/brought on the trip); managing vehicles and equipment in time and space (getting the bicycle/car home again or safely parked); the weather (current and forecast); social relations (the potential of different travel options for relationship building or conflict triggering); social norms (e.g. of 'good parenting' or 'proper behaviour on public transport'); and health issues (wanting exercise or inability to manage stairs/luggage).

The qualitative data revealed that travel information is sometimes perceived and used as a security blanket, i.e. something to hold on to and give the traveller courage on the trip until they are safe at their destination. It also showed that travel planning, depending on life situation, can be experienced as either a house of cards, i.e. if anything changes the whole house collapses and has to be rebuilt to a different layout, or a prefab building, i.e. the same prefabricated pieces are joined together in more or less the same pattern every time.

Recent decades have seen rapid growth in ICT services relating to transportation. Different types of travel information services have been proposed as a means to decrease the environmental impacts of transportation through effecting behavioural change. Taking the empirical 4 insights provided by this thesis into travel planning and travel information use in practice, it is clear that travel information services of tomorrow, if connected to other ICT systems in everyday life, could be designed in a way that broadens their horizon of assistance in supporting travel planning processes in everyday life. Although, as this thesis demonstrates, the role and potential of travel information services and ICT in the work of achieving sustainable mobility should be discussed from a perspective critical of overly linear perceptions and instrumental starting points.

Abstract [sv]

Denna avhandling tar resenärens perspektiv, och undersöker från vardagslivets horisont hur resor egentligen planeras, och hur information används när de många, ofta obemärkta, vardagsresorna görs i staden. Etnografiska fältstudier i södra Stockholm, gjorda och analyserade med ett praktikteoriperspektiv, visar att människor använder sig av många olika typer av information för att planera och genomföra sina resor. Därför bör begreppet reseinformation definieras vitt nog att rymma både informella, formella, analoga och digitala typer av reseinformation. Först då är det möjligt att iaktta interaktioner mellan dessa, och också se informationens eventuella potential som förändringsfaktor för hållbart stadsresande. Även situationer när reseinformation inte används uppmärksammas och diskuteras.

Reseplanering är i vardaglig praktik något som sker lite i taget, i mellanrummen mellan andra sysslor och aktiviteter. Det är en process mer förgrenad i tid, rum och innehåll än den avgränsade sökning efter information om bästa sättet att ta sig mellan A och B som många existerande IT-baserade reseplanerare verkar förutsätta och i dagsläget assisterar. Reseplanering är starkt knutet till den övergripande planeringen av aktiviteter i livet, och reseplanering har därför oftast ett vidare tidsspann än endast en resa. Planering av resor inkluderar även hänsyn till faktorer som nödvändiga förberedelser (saker att göra innan avfärd/ta med sig på resan); hantering av fordon och bagage i tid och rum (få hem cykeln/bilen igen eller få den säkert parkerad); vädret (nuvarande och prognostiserat); sociala relationer (potentialen för konflikter/positiv samvaro vid olika färdmedelsval); sociala normer (om gott föräldraskap eller hur man för sig på kollektiva färdmedel); och hälsoaspekter (vilja till motion eller oförmåga att gå i trappor).

Fältarbetet gjorde tydligt att reseinformation ibland används som en snuttefilt – något att ty sig till och hålla i handen på okänt territorium tills du har kommit till målet för din resa. Reseplanering kan också, beroende på livssituation, antingen upplevas och liknas vid husbygge med prefabricerade element – samma standardiserade, välkända bitar sammanfogas på ungefär samma sätt varje gång; eller också ett korthus – om någonting ändras brakar hela huset ihop, och måste byggas upp igen med en helt annan design.

Under de senaste decennierna har det skett en snabb utveckling av IT-lösningar på transportområdet. Olika typer av reseinformationstjänster har föreslagits som ett verktyg för att ändra resebeteenden och därmed minska transporters miljöpåverkan. Med utgångspunkt från studiens 6 empiriska insikter i hur reseplanering går till i praktiken, och hur reseinformation används blir det tydligt att morgondagens reseplanerartjänster, om de kopplades ihop med andra digitala system vi använder i vår vardag, skulle kunna utformas på ett sätt som utvidgar systemets "assistanshorisont" för att bättre passa ihop med reseplaneringspraktikerna i vår vardag. Potentialen och rollen för reseinformationstjänster och IT i arbetet med att minska transporters miljöpåverkan bör diskuteras från ett perspektiv som är kritiskt till alltför linjära och instrumentella utgångspunkter, vilket denna avhandling bidrar till.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2014. 50 p.
Series
TRITA-INFRA-FMS-LIC, 2014:02
Keyword
Travel planning, travel information, travel information services, travel planners, sustainable social practices, practice theory, everyday life, ICT, urban transport, user-centred perspective
National Category
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences Human Aspects of ICT Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-154474 (URN)978-91-7595-317-5 (ISBN)
Presentation
2014-11-10, Q34, Osquldas väg 6B, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Vinnova
Note

QC 20141030

Available from: 2014-10-30 Created: 2014-10-20 Last updated: 2014-10-30Bibliographically approved

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