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--- John S. Niles, President
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.
Presentation by John Niles at Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, January 23, 2007, "What Does Media Choice Research Reveal About Transportation Disruption?"
John Niles participated in the STELLA Transatlantic Thematic Network as part of Focus Group number two on Information & Communications Technology, Innovation and the Transport System. Review his presentation on telecom and transport at the January 2002 workshop in Arlington, Virginia.
Niles' presentation to February 2000 seminar, Wheels and Wires, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"Telecommunications' Big Idea" in New Telecom Quarterly (November, 1998) lists a dozen differences between interaction via telecommunications and via in-person proximity.
Work in progress on including telecommunications in transportation modeling. Telecom changes trip-generation rates and origin-destination tables.
|Southern California Telecommunications Deployment Strategy, developed by Global Telematics and Ellen Williams & Associates, Inc.|
Aimed at reducing air pollution through telecommunications.
John Niles comments on the low energy conservation impact of forcing more telecommuting.
Global Telematics contributed to the work of the Washington State Telework Coalition, which issued recommendations in a final report, Taking Action to Increase Telework,
and resulted in a Washington Governor's Executive Order from Governor Gary Locke that evolved to replacement Executive Order 16-07 covering telework under Governor Jay Inslee..
Telework Solutions Checklist: Guidance for organizations on using new locations for better performance.
Access to other knowledge about telecommuting produced by Global Telematics..
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.
Note: PDF version available here: https://www.osti.gov/biblio/10188598
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.
Last modified, April 10, 2021