Technology and Mobility

Post in: German

Long distance commuting, frequent overnight work trips, and Long Distance Relationships are dependent upon the technologies that make it possible to bridge distance easily and quickly. Here, developments in the future are dependent upon communication and energy technologies. If travel becomes easier, safer, faster, and more environmentally responsible, then we can expect the rates of long distance commuting and Long Distance Relationship maintenance to increase. If, however, environmental costs of travel-related pollution are built into travel costs, instead of being borne by the environment itself, we may see a decline in long distance commuting and Long Distance Relationships, as people make an effort to concentrate their activities in more narrowly-defined geographic spaces.

We must recognize that the role of technology in spatial mobility creates ambivalent processes – on the one hand, new technologies may reduce the need for face-to-face contact because of being able to work and communicate more easily from any location, thereby reducing physical mobility. But on the other hand, increased contact and broader, more actively maintained social networks increase the interest or demand to meet in person.

Exerpted partly from: Hofmeister, Heather & Norbert Schneider. 2010. „Job Mobilities in Europe: Core Findings, Policy Implications and Future Outlook “ in Mobile Living across Europe, Volume II: Causes and Consequences of Job-Related Spatial Mobility in Cross-National Comparison. N. Schneider & B. Collet (Hg.). Barbara Budrich Verlag.

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