Automobile Traffic Impact of Distance Learning

Automobile Traffic Impact of Distance Learning

Norbert Mundorf (The University of Rhode Island, USA), Nikhilesh Dholakia (The University of Rhode Island, USA), Ruby Roy Dholakia (The University of Rhode Island, USA) and Jing J. Xiao (University of Arizona, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch020
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Abstract

In industrial societies, and also in developing countries, automobile travel is increasingly associated with pollution, congestion and urban sprawl, entailing social and economic costs for both drivers as well as communities. Increasing travel volume and longer average commute, much of it spent stuck in traffic, are taxing community and private resources. Experts from various disciplines agree that it is desirable to manage this increase and at the same time slow the rate of growth. Building additional highways is not considered a desirable alternative in terms of both ecological and monetary costs. Under these conditions, virtual mobility, involving the use of interactive technologies, may prove to be a viable alternative for activities that otherwise require physical transport. It can aid in the reduction of miles traveled and resulting environmental, social and economic impacts. Interactive applications include telework, telebanking, teleshopping, telemedicine and distance learning (DL), which generate considerable revenue from sources other than limited household media and communication budgets (Mundorf & Bryant, 2002).
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Introduction

In industrial societies, and also in developing countries, automobile travel is increasingly associated with pollution, congestion and urban sprawl, entailing social and economic costs for both drivers as well as communities. Increasing travel volume and longer average commute, much of it spent stuck in traffic, are taxing community and private resources. Experts from various disciplines agree that it is desirable to manage this increase and at the same time slow the rate of growth. Building additional highways is not considered a desirable alternative in terms of both ecological and monetary costs.

Under these conditions, virtual mobility, involving the use of interactive technologies, may prove to be a viable alternative for activities that otherwise require physical transport. It can aid in the reduction of miles traveled and resulting environmental, social and economic impacts. Interactive applications include telework, telebanking, teleshopping, telemedicine and distance learning (DL), which generate considerable revenue from sources other than limited household media and communication budgets (Mundorf & Bryant, 2002).

While there is some empirical research on the impact of interactive technologies on travel behaviors, many of the potential benefits have yet to be realized. Research on the traffic impact of DL is even more limited. Besides technical factors and economic cost, the primary reason is human behavior. In industrial societies, we continue to engage in a pattern of single-occupant vehicle travel, in spite of increasing pollution, congestion and inconvenience.

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