Patricia L. Mokhtarian (plmokhtarian@ucdavis.edu), Ilan Salomon (msilans@mscc.huji.ac.il), Susan L. Handy (slhandy@ucdavis.edu)


A number of studies have examined the adoption of information and communication technology (ICT) and its impacts on personal travel, both at a general level and in the context of a particular kind of activity. While it is not surprising that initial attention has focused on the effects of ICT on travel for mandatory and maintenance activities, discretionary or leisure activities have received relatively little attention from this perspective. This report offers a conceptual exploration of the potential impacts of ICTs on leisure activities and the associated travel. We start by discussing some ideas about what leisure is and is not. We point out that one reason for the nebulous nature of the concept of leisure is that the boundaries between leisure, mandatory, and maintenance activities are permeable, for three reasons: the multi-attribute nature of a single activity, the sequential interleaving of activity fragments, and the simultaneous conduct of multiple activities (multitasking). With respect to the relationship of ICT to leisure activities, we discuss four kinds of ways by which ICT can affect leisure activities and travel: the replacement of a traditional activity with an ICT counterpart, the generation of new ICT activities (that displace other activities), the ICTenabled reallocation of time to other activities, and ICT as a facilitator of leisure activities. We then present 13 dimensions of leisure activities that are especially relevant to the issue of ICT impacts: location (in)dependence, mobility-based v. stationary, time (in)dependence, planning horizon, temporal structure and fragmentation, possible multitasking, solitary v. social activity, active v. passive participation, physical v. mental, equipment/media (in)dependence, informal v. formal arrangements required, motivation, and cost. The primary impact of ICT on leisure is to expand an individual’s choice set; however whether or not the new options will be chosen depends on the attributes of the activity (such as the 13 identified dimensions), as well as those of the individual. The potential transportation impacts when the new options are chosen are ambiguous. A number of directions for further research are identified.


2.1 Definitions of Leisure
2.1.1 Permeable Boundaries (1): One Activity, Multiple Aspects
2.1.2 Permeable Boundaries (2): Multiple Types of Activities Fragmented and Sequentially Interleaved
2.1.3 Permeable Boundaries (3): Multiple Types of Activities Simultaneously Overlapped (Multitasking)
2.1.4 Implications
2.2 Previous Classifications of Leisure Activities


3.1 Four Types of Impacts of ICT on Leisure
3.1.1 Replacement of Traditional Leisure Activity with ICT-based Counterpart

3.1.2 Generation of New ICT Activities
3.1.3 ICT-enabled Reallocation of Time to Other Activities
3.1.4 ICT as Enabler/Facilitator/Modifier of Leisure Activities

3.1.5 Similarities and Differences among the Four Types of Impacts
3.2 ICT and Relevant Dimensions of Leisure



There is widespread recognition that the growing use of information and communication technology (ICT)1 can affect the demand for personal travel in a variety of ways. For one thing, because it offers alternative means of conducting various kinds of activities, ICT may substitute for going to a specific location to conduct the activity, and thus eliminate the travel to that location. In some cases, however, ICT-based activities may not directly and consciously replace location-based activities; they may simply be new activities that would not have occurred otherwise. In those cases, there may be no direct impact on travel (although there may often be indirect impacts). In yet other instances, ICT may in fact stimulate the demand for new locationbased activities, which generate travel. The literature (e.g., Salomon, 1986; Mokhtarian, 1990) refers to these outcomes as substitution, neutrality, and complementarity, respectively. Another possibility is also identified: modification, in which travel is neither generated nor replaced, but altered in some way as a consequence of ICT. For a specific measure of travel, modifications can sometimes be reclassified as generation or substitution (e.g. a route change prompted by a mobile phone call may not change the number of trips, but may result in greater or lesser distance traveled, which could be viewed as generation or substitution, respectively)2. A number of studies have examined the adoption of ICT and its impacts on personal travel at a relatively general, overall level (e.g. Albertson, 1977; Day, 1973; Mokhtarian, 2002; Mokhtarian and Meenakshisundaram, 1999; Selvanathan and Selvanathan, 1994). It is more common, however, to consider the adoption and transportation impacts of ICT in the context of a particular kind of activity. For example, a great deal has been written about the adoption of telecommuting and its impacts on travel (see Mokhtarian, 1998 for one introduction to the empirical literature on this subject). Smaller bodies of work exist with respect to the demand for teleconferencing and its effects on business travel (see, e.g., Bennison, 1988), and the impacts of the burgeoning growth in teleshopping or e-commerce on shopping travel (see, e.g., Gould, 1998; Gould and Golob, 1997; Koppelman, et al., 1991; Marker and Goulias, 2000; Mokhtarian, 2004; Salomon and Koppelman, 1988; Tacken, 1990).

Travel behavior researchers (e.g. Reichman, 1976) have traditionally divided trip purposes (and hence activity types) into three categories: subsistence or mandatory (work and work-related), maintenance (shopping, medical, banking, other personal business), and discretionary or leisure (compare the parallel trichotomy of “compelled”, “personal”, and “free” activities described by Delespaul, et al., 2004). It is not surprising that initial attention has focused on the effects of ICT on travel for mandatory and maintenance activities, while discretionary or leisure activities have received relatively little attention from this perspective (Handy and Yantis, 1997 offer one exception). We speculate that there are several reasons for this (also see Meurs and Kalfs, 2000).
For one thing, the other two trip purposes have been considered more important to addressing
congestion problems (Anable, 2002), given the effect of commuting, for example, on peak-

continua >>>>>

1 In this report we take a broad view of what constitutes ICT, including “old” technologies such as radio, television, telephone, and fax as well as “new” technologies such as laptop computers, mobile phones, and the Internet. We do so not only because both types of technologies can affect activity and travel patterns, but also because the boundaries between old and new (e.g. radio and Internet) are often blurry.
2 ICT can also affect the demand for travel by affecting the supply, as with various Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) applications. To the extent that ICT facilitates more efficient use of the transportation system, the cost of traveling is reduced and more or longer trips to activities may result. The primary focus of this report is the effects of ICT on the demand for activities and their associated travel, directly. However, indirect effects on demand through improvements in supply can fall under the third category of ICT impacts, discussed in Section 3.1.3.