- Does Vicinity lose Significance through Telecommunication? A glance at our future mobility    click here to open paper content599 kb
by    Zumkeller, Dirk | ifv@ifv.uni-karlsruhe.de   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Does vicinity loose significance through telecommunication? This question raises the problem whether the essence of transport and mobility is driven by the unlimited demand for simply distance - or is it a system in which variety of any activities is maximized under the given limitations of available systems to conquer space?
To conquer distances is a lifelong dream of humanity, which reflects in symbols like the seven league boots or the internet. According to the theory of economics, there are no limits to this dream on an individual level the more distant the more interesting it seems to become. Also, each era has its own modern or popular methods of conquering distances such as the telephone, the car or the internet. Mass movements resulting from those preferences were traditionally restricted only through infrastructural conditions, and sooner or later this will also be true for telecommunication, where these limits are not quite tangible yet.

To understand such long-term and abstract developments, let us take a look at individual mobility patterns. Process-oriented longitudinal surveys of individual mobility behaviour can give such an insight, both for physical transport (local and long distance person travel) and for virtual movement in cyberspace (telecommunication). A variety of details helps us to create an image of the development of our behavioural patterns to conquer distances in our civilisation. We will specifically turn our attention to such segments that show stagnation tendencies as well as areas with intense upward trends. Collective consequences of individual behaviour manifest themselves in our infrastructure through interferences (traffic jams, delays in railroad travel, waiting times at airports etc.), when these behaviours have developed into mass movements. This leads to the exploration of new capacities, the development of further telecommunication instruments and to modified behavioural patterns. A never ending story!

On the basis of our findings we will discuss the question, if vicinity does indeed lose significance through telecommunication and if this allows us to draw conclusions as to the structure of our cities. Is it possible that a loss of significance of vicinity and an increasing importance of distance are two sides of the same coin?
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