These are the conclusions from the study:
On the travel impacts of telework:
The direct transport substitution effects of
home-based and centre-based teleworking have been repeatedly
measured in the literature, showing statistically significant
reductions in travel
Other forms of teleworking – mobile/nomadic, online
collaboration and remote monitoring/diagnostics – have been
insufficiently researched to draw firm conclusions. Some studies of
mobile teleworking indicate significant travel savings, primarily
through the elimination of commute journeys
Studies of the complementary or travel generation
effects of telework mostly rely on speculation when it comes to
attributing new trips. The few studies which measure additional
trips by teleworkers in implemented schemes do not find that these
trips eliminate the travel savings. However, these studies generally
do not include trips made by other household members
Studies that aggregate transport effects to a
national level generally fail to convince. Much more work needs to
be done to gather the base data for this kind of exercise.
The “substitution versus complementarity debate” is
unresolved. Data on the “substitution” side is generally balanced by
informed conjecture on the “complementarity” side. An American
school of researchers, however, appears to have decided in favour of
complementarity. Though crucial to the validity of certain traffic
reduction policies, to some extent the debate can be a touch facile.
Either way, there are significant transport effects that research
and policy need to get to grips with. Complementarity implies
redistribution of travel, and the new journeys and new locations of
activities are important issues for transport research.
On the transport impact of ebusiness and
Research in these areas is under-developed in
comparison to the research into teleworking – but in fairness, this
is a field of study in its infancy.
Research tends to focus on different models or
scenarios for both business-to-business interactions and for
business-to-consumer ecommerce. Research needs to test the validity
of these models.
Some research tends to indicate that increasing
efficiency will absorb much of any increase in freight movements,
though most commentators expect increases in vans delivering to
consumers. Some studies adopting speculative approaches anticipate
savings of up to 18% in HGV movements. This is an area lacking in
observed data, but as implemented ecommerce schemes mature, there is
scope for research into the transport effects. This is, however, a
very commercially sensitive area.
There is a considerable literature on the use of ICT
in supply chains and for improving the efficiency of logistics and
transport systems. Sometimes statements about possible traffic
volume effects may be included, sometimes inappropriately. This
literature for the most part does not deal with the core interests
of this project. In volume, however, it dwarfs the research in our
field of study. The disparity does, however, reflect the research
priorities of both the private and public sectors when looking at
ICT and transport.
There is no consensus on the implications for
passenger travel. The principle of ecommerce implies fewer trips.
But there is no data as yet to show if this is the case. Some
studies adopting speculative approaches anticipating savings of 10%
Research possibly exaggerates the innovative aspects
of consumer ecommerce, much of which can arguably be considered a
subset of home shopping alongside catalogue shopping and TV
There is little research into the transport impacts
of “dematerialising” goods and services. This is an important area
for future research.
On the impacts of teleservices:
Approaches to the range of ICT “teleservices”
(beyond home shopping) are almost entirely confined to the
One study projects a 20% reduction in social trips
between 1996 and 2010. Mostly, however, use of teleservices is
identified as an unquantified trip-generation factor weighing
against reductions achieved through teleworking.
The impact of teleservices, and a “networked
society” receives more attention in spatial studies. These are
invariably of a speculative nature, and suggest teleservices will be
a factor in making households more footloose, and will contribute to
urban sprawl or contribute to “hypermobility”.
Some more ambitious speculative studies propose new paradigms for
spatial planning by mapping the geography of “cyberspace” or
“hyperspace”. These studies tend to be bound together by disparate
data (where there is any at all) and very cerebral approaches,
although they do propose some innovative concepts that may prove
Much more data is needed on the transport impacts of
online services in the fields of healthcare, government, learning
and leisure before further conclusions can be drawn.