Telecommunications and computers have now merged. New terminology like "telematics" or "National Information Infrastructure (NII)" can best describe the marriage, although we will continue to use "telecommunications" in this report. Computers are attached to networks and embedded within them. Examples of telecommunications as telematics are cellular mobile telephones, automatic teller machines, airline reservation systems, electronic cash registers that update inventory data and order replacement stock, and handheld computers that transmit and receive wireless messages. Virtually all switched telecommunications is telematics, since modern telephone switches are in fact special-purpose computers.

At the same time that telecommunications revolutionizes information flows, it also changes how people and goods move. Urban highway flows, commercial aviation, overnight package delivery, trucking, railroads, and international shipping are increasingly managed through computers and telecommunications that guide shipments, people, and vehicles.

The changes caused by new applications of telecommunications and transportation are just beginning:

Exhibit 1-5 is an outline of the telecommunications technologies that most directly impact travel and location of activity, based on a review of a Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory survey of information technology (Loken, 1993). As Pratt has noted, the ability of these new tools of work to bridge distance and to be easily moved around is causing an unprecedented proportion of work to be conducted at nontraditional sites, both remote and mobile (Pratt, 1993). Travel generation is intrinsic to this trend of new and impermanent activity locations.

Ex 1-5: Elements of telecommunications that relate to travel and activity location.

Go to: