3. RELATIONSHIPS OF ICT TO LEISURE
In this section, we explore the relationships of ICT to leisure activities
in depth. First, we discuss four kinds of ways by which ICT can affect
leisure activities and travel, followed by 13 dimensions to leisure
activities that are especially relevant to the issue of ICT impacts.
Although the four types of impacts and the 13 dimensions are presented
in separate subsections (3.1 and 3.2, respectively), there is inevitably
some forward and backward referencing between the two parts. Table
3 will integrate them by presenting a 13x4 matrix summarizing the
role of each dimension with respect to each type of impact.
3.1 Four Types of Impacts of ICT on Leisure
It is possible to identify four types of effects that ICT may have
on leisure activities and travel;
these are shown in Table 2.12 All four types have the
result of increasing the individuals choice set, which can then
be acted upon in several different ways. We discuss each of these
types of impacts in turn.
3.1.1 Replacement of Traditional Leisure Activity with ICT-based
Most directly, ICT may present an alternative way of conducting a
leisure activity, which will be chosen if the net utility of the ICT-based
form of the activity exceeds that of the other forms.
Clearly, to the extent that ICT-based forms are chosen over location-based
forms of an activity, travel is likely to be reduced.
Mature ICT technologies, like radio and television broadcasts, have
been used for leisure purposes for decades, sometimes serving as substitutes
for physical attendance at a stadium, theatre, or concert hall. In
the 1960s, for example, it was suggested that television would replace
theatre movies as people would prefer the home-based alternative.
Television watching has significantly increased during the second
half of the 20th century, and yet movie theatres have maintained or
increased their patronage. This situation provided an early warning
that ICTs impacts on engagement
in activities and travel may not be simply that of substitution, and
clearly, there are
many indications that complementarity is a viable option. This is
all the more true as ongoing
cost reductions and miniaturization increase the number and portability
of leisure-related technologies (consider the progression from the
Sony Walkman, to portable CD players, to multifunctional mobile phones).
As has been suggested elsewhere with respect to ICT-based alternatives
to work (Salomon and Salomon, 1983) and shopping (Salomon and Koppelman,
1988), an important reason why
substitution does not always occur to the extent expected is that
the ICT-based alternatives are
often not desirable substitutes to the individual decision-maker at
all. To illustrate this point in
the context of leisure activities, let us further consider the example
of watching a movie. Going
to a movie theatre constitutes a totally distinct experience from
that of watching the same movie at home, on one of various technologies
that enable home viewing. If watching a particular movie were the
single attribute of this leisure activity, then the concept of substitution
could properly apply. However, screen size, popcorn, chained activities
en-route to or from a theatre, seeing people and being seen, sharing
an experience with a crowd, and devotion of uninterrupted time (provided
cellular telephone calls or other simultaneous demands are eliminated),
all make the cinema a different activity than the home-based movie
(Handy and Yantis, 1997). From a transportation perspective, the cardinal
question is, to what extent will or can the use of ICT change the
behavior of individuals in time and space? To explore this issue,
we have mapped the range of several leisure activities on a two dimensional
diagram, with time and space ranging from dependence to independence,
respectively. Thus, in Figure 1, the lower left quadrant represents
old activities, both time- and location-dependent, whereas
the upper right quadrant represents the activities that are independent
of time and location (positions of activities are only approximate).
12 It is worth noting that this classification
can apply to the effects of ICT on all activities, not just leisure,
and to any number of technological improvements, not just ICT. For
some technologies (e.g., microwave ovens), the timesavings-effect
(category 3) may dominate the time-stealing effect (category 2), and
in some cases the facilitationeffect (category 4) may be inconsequential.
But for a technology such as the automobile, all four effects are