Friday, 16 May 2014

GEOG 2011 - Implications of time-space mobility use: a critical look at transportation geography

Monica Taylor - 4522884
Professor Christopher Fullerton
TA: Ian Wood
November 18, 2011

Implications of time-space mobility use: a critical look at transportation geography

This paper seeks to illustrate five papers under the sub discipline of transportation geography. This paper provides a critical look into the currently established institutions and programs for sustaining transportation mobility within cities and rural areas in both North America and Europe. These five papers provide insight to the complications of supply and demand for both goods and personal travel. A running theme emerges that time and space become the common method for analyzing the current and future uses of space as cities grow and demands increase. This paper seeks to understand the implications that transportation geography has on human behaviors and future planning of cities, public transportations and personal mobility options. In the end this paper will provide the reader with an understanding of the past, present and future uses of transportation and the variables in which we as consumers will be affected by.

Assessing the potential impact of climate change on transportation
David Jaroszweski, Lee Chapman and Judith Petts of the University of Birmingham, UK wanted to analyze the methods of exploring the implications of climate change on transportation patterns in the UK. When setting up the investigation the authors realized that there hadn’t been much research conducted on how climate change could affect transportation patterns. The researchers wanted to find if there is a way of predicting the growing need for transportation options based on the rapid presence of climate change.
It is noted that a lack of efficient and reliable transportation can severely impact economic growth which gives this research a purpose. The paper outlines one specific method of documenting the effects of climate change on transportation which includes the variables; increased numbers of hot days, increased heavy precipitation, seasonal changes, drought, sea level change and extreme events such as tropical storms. The research conducted by R.S.J Toll outlined in this paper is focused on the hard infrastructure of weather patterns instead of socio-economic change was not essential. This approach makes it easy to assess the need of more transportation methods based on weather patterns, however it does not allow for preparations for future implications these changes may have on social and economic structures.
This concept is displayed in the socio economic and climate scenarios in climate change impact assessment (research conducted by R.S.J Toll);  “represents a theoretical state where climate remains as today but society changes, hence the transportation develops, becoming either more or less vulnerable to the effects of meteorological events” (Jaroszweski, Chapman, and Petts 333). The future implications of this research will influence all other important dimensions including economic growth, demographic change and technological change. These climate impact assessments set up scenarios for the future using the given variables. During their research, the authors found the necessity for creating methods of assessing the future impact of climate change in relation to political and social needs.
This paper allows researchers to understand the importance of using a holistic approach in assessing the impacts of climate change on transportation needs in the future. It has been shown that “by considering how a number of key dimensions may change in the future, most notably those of social and political values and governance it is possible to account for uncertainty in the future socioeconomic transportation needs for a country” (Jaroszweski, Chapman, and Petts 335).

Running to stay in place: the time-use implications of automobile oriented
land-use and travel

The paper Running to stay in place written by Steven Farber and Antonio Paez from Ryerson and McMaster in Ontario, Canada investigates how the systems of land use and mobility imposes on the ability to participate in discretionary activities. Time geography is used to analyze how people use transportation as a variable in making decisions about the activities they choose to participate in. The methods to analyze this data include looking at the theoretical development with subcategories of; time geography and space time impacts of the automobile. The research analyzes the transportation demand especially for those activities that are unavoidable and mandatory in life such as; paid work and childcare. The other variable is discretionary activities such as watching a film or attending a dinner party.
This paper investigates how automatically, “a system of land use and mobility imposes on the ability to participate in discretionary activities” (Farber and Paez 783). The system used and analyzed in this paper is a time-space prism in which the following variables are assessed; potential path space, potential path area, time and space.  Since the ability to travel across space at increasing speeds (faster cars, larger high ways and increased public transportation) there is a need for cities to be aware of the growing spread of cities and the need to accommodate for more space to travel and less time to do it in. “A theoretical argument in time-geography is used to describe the mechanism through which activity dispersion and traffic congestion, both features of the current realization of auto mobility” (Farber 784).
 For the research there were 20375 respondents within the census metropolitan area between the years 1992-2005 used to determine space travelled, time used and activities participated in. For the research, only those who are 15 years of age and over were used. The research assessed the activities called “anchors as they serve to glue individuals to specific locations in time and space. Discretionary activities higher up in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, can be slotted into a daily schedule when there is enough free time between anchors” (Farber 790). The research has shown that there is a significant drop in the amount of discretionary activities which strongly backs up the hypothesis. The reasons for this, the research shows, are the amount of time it takes to commute has become a deterrent.
The implications of the study show that for economic reasons those who have businesses that are in the discretionary fields such as; sports, restaurants, movie theatres, theatres, religious services and hobbies for example will have to prepare for a loss in customers based upon the low priority level these activities get.

Sustainable Transportation Institutions and Regional Evolution: Global and Local Perspectives.

Kingsley E. Haynes, Jonathan L. Gifford, Danilo Pelletiere of the School of public policy , George Mason University, Fairfax VA explore the concept that sustainable transportation institutions must align themselves together across borders. This means figuring out the political and economic implications of having one fluid system of information and transportation control governed by each individual region. The problems with this method would be confronting political legitimacy, economic efficiency and “the embeddedness of transportation in civil society which has caused issues of equity, fiscal management and environmental externalities” (Haynes, Gifford, and Pelletiere 207). Locally, transportation agencies have been able to overcome these obstacles; this paper looks at the positive and negative implications of attempting this on a global scale.

The researchers have to include more variables for a global scale and the “evaluation of institutional sustainability must go beyond and economic or resource analysis of the time distribution or costs and benefits. It must also respond to the relation decision structure within each investment, management, coordinating, and taxing decisions take place, because the decisions set the incentive pattern for the transportation behavior of firms and individuals” (Haynes, Gifford, and Pelletiere 207). The paper takes a look at Trade, technology, and institutional arrangements in international transportation, trade and transport logistics, cabotage (“refers to the ability of foreign vehicles and labor to transport goods within a country” (Haynes, Gifford, and Pelletiere 211)). As well as the Mercosur Region Experience ( “transport service liberalization and deregulation a necessary preparation for the development of an efficient trade – transport chain (Haynes, Gifford, and Pelletiere 212)).
Over the past 25 years the demand for world trade has expanded from 23% to 29% (Haynes, Gifford, and Pelletiere 212). There is a clear evolution within multinational regional spaces in spite of recent issues related to terrorism and security; transportation institutions remain flexible and accommodating to rapidly changing transportation needs.  The research shows that in changing international transportation institutions to allow open communication without political interference successfully allows for regions to transport goods quicker.
A number of benefits come from making decisions and implementing programs on a region wide basis. For example it “allows for economies of scale in purchasing and the pooling of resources and expertise, which reduces redundancy, avoids conflict and allows the system, which is designed regionally, to be operated more efficiently” (Haynes, Gifford, and Pelletiere 217).
For geographers, having a knowledge of the growing demand for more cross regional transporting of goods is essential in understanding the growing needs of people in certain places in the world. Watching the rise and fall of product numbers being imported and exported can say a lot about the economy of a certain region and what implications this may have on the companies and those who work there.

What Shapes local public transportation in Europe? Economics, mobility, institutions and geography.

Daniel Albalate and Germa Bel from the University of Barcelona wrote What Shapes local public transportation in Europe? Economics, mobility, institutions and geography.  In order to analyze the factors that explain the supply and demand of public transportation in Europe which could then be used to assist in transportation planning around the world; the researchers considered variables that reflect geographical patterns and institutional demands. The research will allow the capturing of geographical characteristics of different traditions which include government interventions.  A key point to remember is that citizens in developed economies understand mobility as a right. The aim of this paper is to identify factors explaining local public transportation of large European cities from both supply and demand perspectives.

The research investigates the factors that explain supply and demand of local public transportation by “considering variables related to economics and mobility by using an empirical strategy and by considering as well new variables reflecting institutional characteristics and geographical patterns” (Albalate and Bel 775).   The empirical strategy outlined in the paper has data that was obtained from the Mobility in Cities Database and the International Association of Public Transport which take a look at 120 indicators that effect local public transportation from over 52 European cities in 2001 (Albalate and Bel 776). The research considers the socio demographic characteristics such as population, GDP (gross domestic product) and urban population density. The institutional variables that are considered include; political restrictions, contracting of transport institutions, personal income and political decentralization.
The findings show that supply is greatly influenced by “being a political capital, the level of personal income inequality and contracting out to private firms” (Albalate and Bel 786) and these have an increasing influence on demand as well. This paper contributes to the current standing research on supply and demand but offers a look at the socio demographic variables which had not previously been incorporated. By looking at 52 cities instead of the normal 1 or 2 city studies the paper is able to add legitimacy to the smaller sample studies as the findings were very similar.

Structuring Sustainable Mobility: A Critical Issue for Geography

Lotta Frandberg and Bertil Vilhelmson from the department of Human and Economic Geography at the University of Gothenburg’s paper focuses on society’s social and spatial structures; how societal demands regarding people’s “mobility are continuously shaped and reshaped, and how structuration processes can be transformed in more sustainable directions” (Frandberg and Vilhelmson106). This includes the transformations of :physical structures such as spatial organizations (e.g. the location of activities, land use and transportation systems) of cities and regions, social contacts and networks distributed in space and time and finally cultures of regularly held beliefs, norms and expectations regarding peoples abilities to travel fast and far.
The paper elaborated on the structural dimensions of the changes necessarily involved in achieving sustainability in the area of human spatial mobility. The paper argues that socio spatial structures have been downplayed next to the dominating areas of economics, psychology and technological reasoning. The paper identifies three issues where research is currently emerging but remains to be done. Firstly, the extent to which socio-spatial developments contributes to the continued escalation of physical mobility. Second, in what cases can problems be found between escalating mobility demand and economic growth?  Third, “under what conditions new, restraining and enabling structures, encouraging less rather than more physical mobility can be established” (Frandberg and Vilhelmson106).
One critical task of environmental research within human geography is to contribute to societal learning concerning such new socio spatial arrangements at various scales. This paper delves into the issues of human spatial mobility and what it has to say about the importance of geography within the broader research agenda addressing the challenge of sustainable development. This paper also addresses how the socioeconomic structures necessary for sustainable mobility can be introduced. Such changes are currently being tried out more or less successfully at various spatial scales. The researchers conclude from this paper that “there is clearly a need for a comprehensive, geographical analysis of the maneuvering room in shaping more sustainable forms and levels of travel – or, put differently, a need to structure sustainable mobility” (Frandberg and Vilhelmson 114).


These papers all have a common theme, in assisting geographers within the sub discipline of transport and human behavior to understand what the transportation network will look like in the future and how we will use it. Analysis of the past and a critical look at the present can allow an understanding of why we move across space and how the increased need for speed has created problems for transportation companies. This paper has looked at the implications of climate change, personal mobility use, sustainable transportation institutions in North America, what shapes local transportation needs (specifically in Europe) and how the government and institutions can create a sustainable transportation system in rural areas. Human geographers will be able to use the knowledge of transportation needs to understand the movements of people across space and time.
Works Cited

Albalate, D,. & G, Bel. “What shapes local public transportation in Europe? Economics, mobility, institutions, and geography." Transportation Research Part E 46 (2010): 775-790. Print.
Farber, S., & Paez, A. “Running to stay in place: the time-use implications of automobile oriented land-use and travel”. Journal of Transport Geography 19 (2011): 782-793. Print.
Frandberg, L., & B. Vilhelmson. “Structuring Sustainable Mobility: A Critical Issue for Geography.” Geography Compass 4/2 (2010): 106-117. Print.
Haynes, K., Gifford, J.L., & Pelletiere, D. “Sustainable transportation institutions and regional evolution: Global and local perspectives”. Journal of Transport Geography 13 (2005): 207 – 221. Print.
Jaroszweski, D., Chapman, L., & Petts, J. “Assessing the potential impact of climate change on transportation: the need for an interdisciplinary approach.” Journal of Transport Geography 18 (2010): 331-335. Print.

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