The study reported in this document has been carried out by Global Telematics for the United States Department of Energy (USDOE) and the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL). It was conducted in support of the development of the National Information Infrastructure (NII). A Federal document, The National Information Infrastructure: Agenda for Action (Information Infrastructure Task Force, 1993), describes the NII as "a seamless web of communications networks, computers, databases, and consumer electronics that will put vast amounts of information at users' fingertips." The Agenda implies that geographic distance to places formerly visited--schools, shopping centers, offices, libraries, cultural centers, and cinemas--will matter less when the NII is available for daily use. Many journeys that people make via modes of transportation, goes the argument, can be replaced by communication and information flows through the network. This implication in turn opens up questions and issues about the level of demand for transportation services as the NII develops. Will more use of telecommunications in personal and work life mean that people take fewer or shorter trips in transportation vehicles?
The future of transportation demand is of interest to the Department of Energy because a growing percentage of the nation's energy is consumed in the transportation sector, mostly by cars and trucks. In 1990, transportation accounted for 27% of total U.S. energy consumption (Exhibit P-1), almost three quarters of it going to highway uses. The share of petroleum consumed by transportation is also on the rise, having reached 65% in 1991. Petroleum continues to be the dominant transportation fuel; natural gas, electricity, and other special fuels contribute very little today. A growing share of gasoline, approximately 50% now, is refined from oil imported into the U.S. from overseas. This report is intended to contribute to an increased awareness of why transportation volumes are likely to continue growing even as telecommunications usage and associated economic and social benefits grow because of an expanding National Information Infrastructure.
This report is derived from an earlier study report by Global Telematics with the same title, dated August 21, 1993. That draft was part of the background research for a separate Department of Energy report on telecommuting to the U.S. Congress, titled Energy, Emissions, and Social Consequences of Telecommuting (USDOE, 1993).
The lead author of this manuscript is John Niles of Global Telematics. Other contributors managed by this firm are Dick Nelson, Transportation and Energy Analysis; Bill Gruber, Research & Planning, Inc.; Tom Lehman, Tom Lehman & Associates; Andy Dunau, Dunau Associates; Ed Parker, Parker Telecommunications; Monica Babine, Productivity Enhancement Consulting; and Mark Plackett, Telecommuting Products & Services.
Substantial contributions to earlier drafts of this manuscript were also made by Ed Hillsman, Amy Wolfe, and Carl Petrich of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and by Robert Cowell of the University of Tennessee.
Global Telematics received helpful reactions to review drafts of this report from John Cavallini, Bob Aiken, Lew Fulton, and Dick Holt, USDOE; Stewart Loken and Ruth Steiner, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory; Patricia Mokhtarian, University of California at Davis; Paul Toliver, Seattle Metro Transit; Karen Sy, Information Resource Management Associates; Ed Risse and Linda Risse, Synergy/Planning, Inc.; George Beard, State of Oregon; Frank Dillow, Nancy Williams, and Chris Jones, GTE; Mike Fitzgerald, State of Washington; Dale Sparks; Jack Collins, Northwest Small Cities Services; Julia Marsh, New Telecommunications Quarterly; Don Dillman, Washington State University; Pat Beaton, New Jersey Institute of Technology; Susan Hadden, University of Texas at Austin; Jane Fraser, Ohio State University; Joanne Pratt, Joanne H. Pratt Associates; Richard Harkness; Cynthia Fondriest, Strategic Transportation Initiatives, Inc.; and Jean Hanson and Karen Palmer, Resources for the Future.
The authors appreciate assistance in obtaining data from Lynda Trinh, Federal Highway Administration; Dongho Chang, Washington State Department of Transportation; Neil Kilgren, Puget Sound Regional Council; Stephen Roach, Morgan Stanley & Co.; Stacy Davis, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; David Beal, Puget Sound Regional Transit Project; Chris Rau, US WEST Communications; Jerry Schneider, University of Washington; Rachel Parker, DRI/McGraw-Hill; Barbara Eversole and Patricia Harrington, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center; Michael Bagley, University of California, Davis; and Industry Analysis Division, Federal Communications Commission.
The contributions of all these people and others we may have omitted in error were interpreted and integrated by Global Telematics, which takes full and complete responsibility for the findings, conclusions, and recommendations presented in this report. Beyond Telecommuting, therefore, is the work of an independent private firm and does not represent a policy or position of any university, federal laboratory, or government agency.