Thursday, June 5, 2008

Humans go to work, come home, stay home

Over at the Antiplanner's blog (I find his blog's name incredibly ironic given the author's views, but that's for another time), where I often find myself sucked into repetitive arguments about the merits of contemporary American land use and transportation policy, one commenter made the assertion that individualized transport is inherently superior to mass transit because:

By definition and, communal transport meets only the most common needs. One might lower their aspirations, but it would be like telecom reverting to the party-line phone at the general store.

I take issue with this comment on a number of levels, but today I read an article in the NYT that suggests that "common needs" might be just about all we need. The article is about a study published in Nature that analyzed the movement pattern of 100,000 people in an unnamed European country via cell phone records. The Times write-up didn't have any quantitative specifics, and the study itself is gated, but the researchers concluded that "[i]ndividuals display significant regularity, because they return to a few highly frequented locations, such as home or work." It makes you wonder how necessary the on-demand flexibility of the road/car system really is.

Edit: Reader DS points to this link for an ungated version of the article.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here is a pre-print of the article.