Benefits of Travel: Needs Versus Constraints in Uncertain Environments

  • Soora Rasouli
  • Harry J. P. Timmermans


Why do we travel? Because we want to – or because we have no other choice? Some thoughts are presented about the benefits of travel from an individual and societal perspective. Travel is considered to represent induced demand in that the spatial configuration of land use and facilities requires individuals and households to travel in order to participate in their daily activities, which in turn are instrumental to achieving their needs, desires, and aspirations. Travel is however often more than only an episode of negative utility between two activity episodes. It may be a positive act of a temporary break from routines or an opportunity to release frustration, chill down, and recharge for things to come. Moreover, travel is also an opportunity to having a moment for oneself and enjoying the passing of the landscape and the brief non-obligatory, superficial encounters with others. These notions are used to derive a formalization that identifies the conditions under which the utility of travel becomes positive.


Travel Time Travel Distance Urban System Aspiration Level Travel Mode 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Aitken, S. C. (2000). Fathering and faltering: ‘Sorry, but you don’t have the necessary accoutrements’. Environment and Planning A, 32, 581–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arentze, T., & Timmermans, H. J. P. (2005). Information gain, novelty seeking and travel: A model of dynamic activity-travel behavior under conditions of uncertainty. Transportation Research Part A, 39, 125–145.Google Scholar
  3. Axhausen, K. W. (2002). Social networks and travel behavior. Paper presented in the ESRC mobile network seminar series – Seminar 2: New communication technologies and transportation systems. Cambridge University, Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  4. Bargeman, B., & van der Poel, H. J. J. (2006). The role of routines in the vacation decision-making process of Dutch vacationers. Tourism Management, 27, 707–720.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Batty, M. (1976). Urban modelling. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Beavon, K. S. O. (1977). Central place theory: A reinterpretation. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  7. Ben-Akiva, M., & Lerman, S. (1985). Discrete choice analysis: Theory and application to travel demand. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  8. Berlyne, D. E. (1967). Arousal and reinforcement. In D. Levine (Ed.), Nebraska symposium on motivation (pp. 1–116). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  9. Berry, B. J. L., & Pred, A. (1961). Central place studies (Bibliography series no. 1). Philadelphia: Regional Science Research Institute.Google Scholar
  10. Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Cass, N., Shove, E., & Urry, J. (2003). Changing infrastructures: Measuring socio-spatial inclusion/exclusion. Lancaster, UK: Lancaster University, Department of Sociology.Google Scholar
  12. Connolly, D., Caulfield, B., & O’Mahony, M. (2009). Rail passengers’ preferences for on-board Wi-fi internet access. In Proceedings of the 88th annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (CD-ROM), Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  13. Dijst, M. (2004). ICT and accessibility: An action space perspective on the impact of new information and communication technologies. In M. Beuthe, V. Himanen, A. Reggiani, & L. Zamparini (Eds.), Transport developments and innovation in an evolving world (pp. 27–46). Berlin, Germany: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dowling, R. (2000). Cultures of mothering and car use in suburban Sydney: A preliminary investigation. Geoforum, 31, 345–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Duffy, E. (1962). Activation and behavior. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  16. Ettema, D., Schwanen, T., & Timmermans, H. J. P. (2004). The effect of locational factors on task and time allocation in households. In Proceedings of the 83th annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (CD-ROM), Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  17. Ettema, D., Schwanen, T., & Timmermans, H. J. P. (2007). The effect of location, mobility and socio-demographic factors on task and time allocation in households. Transportation, 34, 89–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gärling, T., & Golledge, R. G. (2000). Cognitive mapping and spatial decision making. In R. Kitchin & S. Freundschuh (Eds.), Cognitive mapping: Past, present and future (pp. 44–65). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Giddens, A. (1994). Living in a post-traditional society. In U. Beck, A. Giddens, & S. Lash (Eds.), Reflexive modernization: Politics, tradition and aesthetics in the modern social order (pp. 56–109). Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  20. Golledge, R. G., & Gärling, T. (2001). Spatial behavior in transportation modellign and planning. In K. Goulias (Ed.), Transportation and engineering handbook. New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  21. Golledge, R. G., & Timmermans, H. J. P. (1988). Behavioral modeling in geography and planning. London: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
  22. Hägerstrand, T. (1970). What about people in regional science? Paper of the Regional Science Association, 14, 7–21.Google Scholar
  23. Halden, D., Jones, P., & Wixey, S. (2005). Accessibility analysis literature review. London: University of Westminster.Google Scholar
  24. Handy, S., & Yantis, T. (1997). The impacts of telecommunications on nonwork travel behaviour (Research Report SWUTC/97/721927-1F). Austin, TX: University of Texas, Center for Transportation Research.Google Scholar
  25. Hanson, S., & Hanson, P. (1980). Gender and urban activity patterns in Uppsala, Sweden. Geographical Review, 70, 291–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hanson, S., & Hanson, P. (1981). The impact of married women’s employment on household travel patterns: A Swedish example. Transportation, 10, 165–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hanson, S., & Johnston, I. (1985). Gender differences in work-trip length: Explanations and implications. Urban Geography, 6, 193–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hanson, S., & Pratt, G. (1990). Geographic perspectives on the occupational segregation of women. National Geographic Research, 6, 376–399.Google Scholar
  29. Hensher, D. A., & Johnson, L. W. (1981). Applied discrete choice modelling. London: Croon Helm.Google Scholar
  30. Hewstone, M. (1989). Causal attribution: From cognitive processes to cognitive beliefs. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  31. Hunt, J. D., Johnston, R. A., Abraham, J. E., Rodier, C. J., Garry, G. R., Putman, S. H., et al. (2001). Comparisons from Sacramento model test bed. Transportation Research Record: The Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 1780, 53–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Johnson-Laird, P. N. (1983). Mental models. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Kenyon, S., & Lyons, G. (2007). Introducing multi-tasking to the study of travel and ICT: Examining its extent and assessing its potential importance. Transportation Research Part A, 41, 161–175.Google Scholar
  34. Kenyon, S., Lyons, G., & Rafferty, J. (2002). Transport and social exclusion: Investigating the possibility of promoting inclusion through virtual mobility. Journal of Transport Geography, 10, 207–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kirby, H. R., Smith, A. W., & Carreno, M. (2007). Useful activity whilst traveling adds value. In Proceedings of the 11th WCTR Conference, Berkeley, CA.Google Scholar
  36. Kwan, M.-P. (1999). Gender, the home-work link and space-time patterns of non-employment activities. Economic Geography, 76, 370–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kwan, M.-P. (2000). Gender differences in space-time constraints. Area, 32, 145–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lyons, G., Jain, J., & Holley, D. (2006). The use of travel time by rail passengers in Great Britain. Transportation Research Part A, 41, 107–120.Google Scholar
  39. Lyons, G., & Urry, J. (2005). Travel time use in the information age. Transportation Research Part A, 39, 257–276.Google Scholar
  40. Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50, 370–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Maslow, A. H. (1970). Motivation and personality (2nd ed.). New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  42. Maslow, A. H., & Lowery, R. (Eds.). (1998). Toward a psychology of being (3rd ed.). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  43. McClelland, D. C. (1975). Power: The inner experience. New York: Irvington.Google Scholar
  44. Miller, E. J. (2005). An integrated framework for modeling household-based decision-making. In H. J. P. Timmermans (Ed.), Progress in activity-based analysis (pp. 175–202). Oxford, UK: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  45. Mokhtarian, P. L., & Salomon, I. (2001). How derived is the demand for travel? Some conceptual and measurement considerations. Transportation Research Part A, 35, 695–719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mokhtarian, P. L., Salomon, I., & Handy, S. L. (2006). The impacts of ICT on leisure activities and travel: A conceptual exploration. Transportation, 33, 263–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Ory, D. T., & Mokhtarian, P. L. (2005). When is getting there half the fun? Modeling the liking for travel. Transportation Research Part A, 39, 97–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Petri, H. (1991). Motivation: Theory, research and application (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  49. Proust, M. (1923). La Prisonniere. Paris: Gallimard Collection Folio Classiques.Google Scholar
  50. Redmond, L. S., & Mokhtarian, P. L. (2001). The positive utility of the commute: Modeling ideal commute time and relative desired commute amount. Transportation, 28, 179–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rushton, G. (1969). Analysis of spatial behavior by revealed space preferences. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 59, 391–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Salomon, I. (1986). Telecommunications and travel relationships: A review. Transportation Research Part A, 20, 223–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Salomon, I., & Mokhtarian, P. L. (1998). What happens when mobility-inclined market segments face accessibility-enhancing policies? Transportation Research Part D, 3, 129–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Strathman, J. G., Dueker, K. J., & Davis, J. S. (1994). Effects of household structure and selected travel characteristics on trip chaining. Transportation, 24, 23–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Terry, D. J., & Hogg, M. A. (2000). Attitudes, behavior, and social context. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  56. Timmermans, H. J. P., Arentze, T. A., & Joh, C. H. (2002). Analysing space-time behaviour: New approaches to old problems. Progress in Human Geography, 26, 175–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Timmermans, H. J. P., & van der Waerden, P. J. H. J. (2008). Synchronicity of activity engagement and travel in time and space: Descriptors and correlates of field observations. Transportation Research Record: The Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2054, 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Timmermans, H. J. P., & Veldhuisen, K. J. (1981). Behavioural modelling and spatial planning: Some methodological considerations and empirical tests. Environment and Planning A, 13, 1485–1498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Timmermans, H. J. P., & Zhang, J. (2009). Analyses of multi-tasking on public buses during work commute using support vector machines and boosted regression trees. In Proceedings of the international HKSTS conference, Hong Kong, China.Google Scholar
  60. van der Waerden, P. J. H. J., Kemperman, A. D. A. M., Timmermans, H. J. P., & van Hulle, R. (2009). The influence of multitasking on individual’s travel decisions in the context of work trips. In Proceedings of the RARSS Conference, Niagara Falls, Canada.Google Scholar
  61. van der Waerden, P. J. H. J., Timmermans, H. J. P., & van Neerven, R. (2009). Extent, nature and covariates of multitasking of rail passengers in an urban corridor: A Dutch case study. In Proceedings of the 88th annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  62. Verhoeven, M., Arentze, T. A., Timmermans, H. J. P., & van der Waerden, P. J. H. J. (2005). Modeling impact of key events on long-term transport mode choice decisions: Decision network approach using event history data. Transportation Research Record: The Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 1926, 106–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Waddell, P. (2002). UrbanSim: Modeling urban development for land use, transportation and environmental planning. Journal of the American Planning Association, 68, 297–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wardrop, J. G. (1952). Some theoretical aspects of road traffic research. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers Part II, 1, 325–378.Google Scholar
  65. Wegener, M. (2004). Overview of land use transport models. In D. A. Hensher & K. Button (Eds.), Handbook in transport (pp. 127–146). Kidlington, UK: Pergamon/Elsevier Science.Google Scholar
  66. Wilson, A. G. (1967). A statistical theory of spatial distribution models. Transportation Research, 1, 253–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wilson, A. G. (1970). Entropy in urban and regional planning. London: Pion.Google Scholar
  68. Zhang, J., & Timmermans, H.J.P. (2010). Scobit-based panel analysis of public transport users’ multitasking behavior. In Proceedings of the 89th annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board (CD-ROM), Washington, DC.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Urban Planning GroupEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations