period congestion and the desire to explore congestion-reducing alternatives.
It is possible that in most places planners do not view leisure travel
as economically productive (in contrast to work-related travel), and
hence it is not factored into decisions about the cost-effectiveness
of infrastructure improvements or other policies (even in areas of
high tourism, tourism is viewed as part of the economy from a supply-side
perspective e.g. the employment it generates, and the infrastructure
required to support visitors from outside the region but the
demand for leisure travel on the part of local residents may be neglected).
It is also possible that planners (perhaps implicitly) view discretionary
travel as less susceptible to policy intervention. Almost by definition,
people tend to have and exercise more flexibility in their leisure
activity choices, and since they are already (for the most part) conducting
such activities because they want to, not because they have to, they
may be less inclined to consider choices that will reduce those activities
or the associated travel.
The fact that some value-of-time studies show that people have lower
monetary valuations of travel time for discretionary trips than for
mandatory trips (e.g. Hensher, 1997) is one indication that people
are less motivated to reduce their travel in these cases. Finally,
the options for leisure activities and travel are simply far more
numerous, diverse, and complex than those for the other two types
of activities, and thus it is more difficult to measure, model, and
predict peoples behavior in this respect (Potier, 2000).
Yet leisure is by no means an insignificant segment of total activity.
In many studies, discretionary purposes account for a third to a half
of total personal travel (Anable, 2002; ECMT, 2000; G`tz, et al.,
2002). There seems to be growth not only in the importance that people
place on leisure (e.g., Snir and Harpaz, 2002) and in the amount of
time devoted to leisure related activities, but also in their diversity
of type (Heinze, 2000) and spatial location (Schlich, et al., 2004).
The European Council of Ministers of Transport (ECMT, 2000, p. 182)
notes that growth in leisure travel and activities can be attributed
to three factors: rising standards of living, earlier retirement
and the trend towards shorter working hours. Thus, it can be
expected that to the extent economic prosperity continues to rise
worldwide, the demand for discretionary activities and their associated
travel will increase.3
Given the current and future importance of leisure to humankind,
therefore, it is relevant to
examine the potential impacts of ICTs on this category of activities
and hence on the associated travel. The purpose of this report is
to offer a conceptual exploration of those impacts. By analyzing the
possible types of impacts of ICT on leisure, and classifying leisure
activities according to factors that are relevant to understanding
those impacts, we hope to provide a conceptual framework from which
future empirical studies can benefit.
The organization of this report is as follows. In the following section,
we explore various issues related to the definition and classification
of leisure activities. After discussing some ideas about what leisure
is and is not, we briefly review several typologies of leisure activities
that have previously appeared in the literature. Section 3 constitutes
the heart of the report, exploring the relationship of ICT to leisure
activities. First, we discuss four kinds of ways by which ICT can
affect leisure activities, and speculate on the general nature of
the concomitant travel impacts of those effects. We then present 13
dimensions to leisure activities that are especially relevant to the
issue of ICT impacts. Section 4 offers some concluding remarks, including
suggested directions for further research.
3 However, the relationship may be more complex
than these trends alone indicate. There is evidence suggesting that
reduced work hours over the last few decades, especially in western
European countries, have translated into more work on second
jobs and increasing incomes. This growth in income may facilitate
leisure activities of a different nature and on different time scales.
For example, the reduction of daily leisure time availability due
to second jobs may translate into more distant (and expensive) annual
vacations. Thus, increasing incomes do not necessarily translate into
more leisure activities. The income effect may be moderated in various
ways, both in quantitative and qualitative dimensions.