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Smarter choices and telecoms – the evidence

Cairns, S.; (2005) Smarter choices and telecoms – the evidence. Presented at: Westminster e-forum event 'Sustainable transport: congestion, the environment and communications policy', London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

In May 2004, a research report entitled ‘Smarter Choices’ was published in conjunction with the new White Paper on the ‘The Future of Transport’. The study looked at ten transport measures, including telework, teleconferencing and home shopping. The study suggested that, within ten years, and within a supportive context, a ‘high-intensity scenario’ of implementing these measures could reduce national traffic levels by 11%, with greater effects in certain circumstances, including, for example, a 21% reduction in urban peak traffic. This paper concentrates on telework and teleconferencing. Taken together, these represented about 37% of the potential national traffic reduction identified. The study also showed that telework and teleconferencing were often associated with other benefits, including financial savings for employers and a better work–life balance for employees. Hence, increasing their use could have a range of positive effects. Some critics have argued that encouraging organisations to adopt telework or teleconferencing leads to more dispersed lifestyles and business activities, thereby increasing travel not reducing it. Whilst this is logically possible, current evidence does not support this. Moreover, a key issue is the context in which these activities are encouraged. For example, the effect of promoting them in a context where road and air travel are priced to reflect environmental impacts is likely to be significantly different to the effect of promoting them in a context of an expansion of cheap, long-distance travel. The Smarter Choices research suggests that, where employers are encouraged to promote telework or teleconferencing as part of a package with explicit objectives to reduce travel, significant traffic reductions can be achieved.

Type:Conference item (Presentation)
Title:Smarter choices and telecoms – the evidence
Event:Westminster e-forum event 'Sustainable transport: congestion, the environment and communications policy'
Location:London, UK
Dates:13 Jul 2005
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering

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