Publication Detail

Communication Chains: A Methodology for Assessing the Impacts of the Internet on Communication and Travel

UCD-ITS-RP-05-49

Reprint

Available online at doi: 10.1080/10630730500116602

Suggested Citation:
Brown, Colby, Prashant N. Balepur, Patricia L. Mokhtarian (2005) Communication Chains: A Methodology for Assessing the Impacts of the Internet on Communication and Travel. Journal of Urban Technology 12 (1), 71 - 98

Although numerous researchers have investigated the impact on travel of specific telecommunications applications like telecommuting, only rarely has a broader look at the impact of electronic communications on multiple communications media, including travel, been attempted. This is no doubt due in part to the measurement challenges associated with such an attempt. Time-use diaries, activity diaries, or communication logs can provide opportunities for cross-sectional analysis, typically at a single point (or small interval) of time. However, these tools generally do not identify the chain of communication events cascading from a specific message, and thus are unable to capture behavioral linkages between events. Thus, for example, if a cross-sectional study using such a tool finds that greater Internet use is associated with more travel, it has not been established that the Internet use caused the travel; a third-party variable such as income, or a gregarious or variety-seeking personality, may be responsible for both effects separately. On the other hand, following communication chains in a precise and quantifiable way is a daunting task for both the researcher and the respondent.