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Personal use of the Internet and travel: Evidence from the Canadian General Social Survey's 2010 time use module

TitlePersonal use of the Internet and travel: Evidence from the Canadian General Social Survey's 2010 time use module
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsLachapelle, U., and Jean-Germain F.
JournalTravel Behaviour and Society
Pages81 - 91
Keywordscomplementarity, displacement, e-shopping, substitution, transportation, trip frequency

The growth in personal Internet use for the purposes of communication, shopping and documentation has the potential to reduce travel by substituting trips with on-line activities. Evidence suggests that on-line communications have mild impact on travel as face-to-face communications are still favored and on-line shopping is often supplemented with in-store shopping. On-line media and documentation use also typically supplement traditional media. Internet use may rather be a complement to travel related activities. This paper explores Internet use for these three purposes and evaluates associations with overall travel and travel for these specific purposes. The 2010 Canadian General Social Survey provides a one-day time use diary including Internet-based and travel activities. Three categories of home-based Internet activities (communication, shopping and media and documentation) can be associated with related trip purposes. A Multinomial Logistic model of Internet use intensity explores the socioeconomic drivers of Internet use for workers and students (n = 8239). Associations between Internet use and time spent traveling (overall and purpose specific, Tobit models) and trip frequencies during the survey day (negative binomial models) are then assessed. Heavy Internet use is associated with reduced overall travel time but with variations in travel time and number of trips for purposes directly related to Internet activities. On-line shopping was positively associated with travel for shopping. On-line personal communication was negatively associated with travel for communication. Distinction in purposes of Internet use and in targeted population groups will be required to elaborate policies more likely to reduce travel as a result of Internet use.

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