Introducing multitasking to the study of travel and ICT: Examining its extent and assessing its potential importance
Personal travel is undertaken principally as a means of access. The Internet now provides an additional form of access, enabling many activities to be reached without recourse to physical mobility by the individual undertaking the activity. However, the social and transport effects of this 'virtual mobility' are uncertain. Here, it is argued that the incidence and properties of multitasking are a necessary part of the assessment of such impacts. Participation in activities and, thus, change in activity participation will not be fully measured without consideration of multitasking. This paper presents a review, empirical evidence and discussion to support this hypothesis. Emergent from an examination of the literature and examined by new empirical evidence are three observations: (1) failure to consider multitasking leads to the underreporting of key activities; (2) misrepresentation of activity participation tends to be more pronounced for certain groups; (3) lack of awareness of multitasking could lead to flawed measurement and misrepresentation of behaviour change. Further to these observations, study findings suggest that multitasking behaviour varies according to whether the primary activity is being undertaken online or offline. Thus, the consideration of multitasking is likely to have important implications for the study of travel, Internet use and interactions between the two.
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Volume (Year): 41 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
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