Mobility as an Information Concept

New layers of information: We can imagine a ‘digital skin’ layered over tarmac and concrete. Maps of emotions and memories are inextricably linked to the map they overlay, in the same way behaviour relates to its environment. Traditional maps favour showing the street over the route, the static over the temporal, and the formal over the subjective.
How will these new layers of information influence travel and mobility behaviour?

• New layers of information are increasing the complexities of peoples’ mental maps.

• Information is not just gathered through ‘top-down’ processes anymore, but also by user-generated ‘bottom-up’ processes.

Big data & virtual mobility

New ICT developments have enhanced our ability to manage and interact with the transport system in real time. Initially there was strong ‘top-down’ development of sophisticated traveller information systems, using on-line journey planners – using what can be called ‘formal information’.

However, the emergence of smartphones has led to technological developments from ‘bottom-up’ user-generated (‘informal’) information; for example combining mobile phone technology with GPS technology.


This has led to the development of many innovative new mobility services. Some of which, such as telecommunication technologies (e.g. video calling), are already showing potential as alternative mechanisms to physical travel. This particular type of innovation could prove beneficial to reducing the need for business travel.

Making it work (& meeting social needs)

In order that new technological improvements and services can be harnessed for the public good, and to ensure the provision of real-time, relevant data for both users and providers in the transport industry, joint collaboration is essential between all actors (users, transport operators, private companies and legislators).

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