RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2018

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132 Changing Landscapes of Work and Travel
Affiliation Transport Geography Research Group
Convenor(s) Simon Blainey (University of Southampton, UK)
Darja Reuschke (University of Southampton, UK)
Chair(s) Simon Blainey (University of Southampton, UK)
Timetable Thursday 30 August 2018, Session 1 (09:00 - 10:40)
Room Sir Martin Evans Building - C/0.13
Session abstract The landscapes of work are rapidly changing in mature economies, as economic and lifestyle transitions lead an increasing number of people to work in ways which are different from the traditional ‘nine to five’ pattern. Whether this involves flexible working hours, home working, mobile working, itinerant working, peripatetic working, or real or notional self-employment linked to the ‘platform’ and ‘sharing’ economies, the potential impacts of these shifts are profound. Some of the most significant impacts include those on travel patterns and on the demand for and supply of transport services. However, the effects of changing working patterns on landscapes of travel are poorly understood. To complicate the picture further, there are similarly profound shifts taking place in technologies and practices of travel, such as those linked to autonomous vehicles, changing fuel sources, and the supposed advent of ‘mobility as a service’. These could themselves have impacts on working patterns, by making a wider range of work-space-time configurations available to and feasible for both employees and employers. This session will investigate the interactions between these changing landscapes of work and transport, focusing particularly on the impact they have on work-related travel (both inside and outside ‘work time’) and transport-related work.
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: ac2018@rgs.org
Changing landscapes of commuting: day-to-day variability in travel choices
Fiona Crawford (University of the West of England, UK)
Owing to increasing rates of flexible and remote working, a person may no longer work in the same location at the same times of day every day. This has implications for the predictability of commuting trips, which contribute substantially to congestion. Variability in an individual’s behaviour between days, known as intrapersonal variability, can be examined using suitable data, for example the National Travel Survey (NTS) in England which includes a survey and a seven day travel diary.

This paper explores trends in multi-day commuting patterns between 2002 and 2016 using NTS data. Three overall trends are observed. Firstly, there has been a decrease in the average number of days per week on which employed people make commuting trips. Secondly, the proportion of people who use the same main transport mode for all of their commuting trips during the surveyed week has increased. Thirdly, the intrapersonal variability in work arrival and departure times have both decreased. Therefore, a worker may commute on fewer days of the week, but the trips s/he does make are more homogeneous. These trends are examined to determine the connections to changes in working patterns, including reported home working, and other personal characteristics, including gender and age.
Flexible Working and the Journey to Work in the UK
Simon Blainey (University of Southampton, UK)
Abdulrahman Alwosheel (University of Southampton, UK)
Changing urban working patterns mean that the traditional daily journey to and from a single workplace is becoming a progressively less typical part of people’s lives. Growth in home, flexible, mobile, itinerant and peripatetic working is leading to increasingly complex and heterogenous commuting and work-related travel behaviour. There has though only been limited quantitative analysis of how these changes in working patterns have affected work-related travel in the UK. This paper investigates the extent to which this gap in knowledge can be filled using data from surveys of employment patterns, focusing particularly on the UK Labour Force Survey and the Skills and Employment Survey. This data is used to analyse longitudinal trends in employment and work-related travel patterns, with the results being compared to those from earlier analysis based on the European Working Conditions Survey.
Using Mobile Phone Data to Identify Resilience in Travel Behaviour
Hannah Budnitz (University of Birmingham, UK)
This paper explores the potential of mobile phone data to improve our understanding of how travel patterns change in response to severe weather events and the disruption they cause to transport infrastructure. The mobile phone data for this paper was anonymised and aggregated into road / rail origin-destination matrices for four periods for every day in 2016 by the mobile operator. An averaged subset of this data was then made available through the Transport Systems Catapult for academic research, in this case centring on Birmingham, UK and an extended period of thunderstorms, intense rainfall, and flash flooding in June 2016 to represent a working day suffering from known weather disruption. Another averaged subset encompassing approximately ten working weeks (5 weeks either side) offered a ‘normal’ day comparison. The matrices were also pre-processed into home-based work, home-based other, and non-homebased trips. It is hypothesised that a small but significant proportion of commuters change their travel behaviour in response to severe weather to reduce their exposure to risk and disruption. Some of these altered behaviours, such as mode and destination, including the choice not to travel, might be identifiable from the mobile phone data, as might any major shift in trips by time of day. Furthermore, when the mobile phone data is combined with geographic, socio-demographic, other transport data, and broadband speed data as a proxy for increased internet activity, this analysis provides insights, without reliance on post-event surveys, of who, where, and why resilient choices may or may not be made. Such quantitative evidence of irregular and flexible access choices could improve policy on future investment and messaging for resilience and recovery.
“Catching up” or counting time? Making the commute work
Juliet Jain (University of the West of England, UK)
Billy Clayton (University of the West of England, UK)
Caroline Bartle (University of the West of England, UK)
Technology has changed the opportunities for working on the move. Bulky paperwork is now stored digitally, often in the cloud, for anywhere anytime working. Digital devices can facilitate continuous connectivity to people. Most emerging research in this domain focuses on business travellers. Increasingly, the commute on public transport is being used for work too. This presentation will consider evidence and implications.
Previously, the commute has been described as ‘me time’ (i.e. relaxation and/or personal activities) or ‘transition time’ (for example, mentally changing gear from parent at home into business executive role at work). Now there is evidence drawn from recent research with rail travellers on a UK route, by the authors, which indicates the commute is a time for ‘catching up’ with work, in particular emails.
However, few people see their commute as official work time, and believe neither would their employer. Counting commute time as work time could have profound implications for the transport industry and organisational practices, in terms of the travel environment, distance, connectivity, equipment and expectations. There would be costs and benefits to individuals too. To direct future thinking the authors will develop a conceptual reframing of the commute as work.