Dr Janet Dickinson, based in the School of Tourism, has been awarded £127k from the EPSRC for leading a BU work package as part of the larger collaborative research project 6th Sense Transport (6ST), led by Dr Tom Cherrett (University of Southampton).
6ST aims to revolutionise the process of decision making in travel behaviour (whether it be for the movement of people or things) by using social networking principles to create ‘visibility’ of potential transport options in time and space. If we are better able to visualise the activity of people and things (cars, buses, lorries, even items within a lorry) relative to their immediate and future time schedules, and crucially, the conditions under which people and other ‘things’ might be willing to liaise and adapt, we might be able to realise more opportunistic and collaborative uses for transport resources, leading to a reduction in overall transport related carbon emissions. 6ST will provide a deep understanding of how the increasingly multiple forms of temporality and spatiality influence travel mode choices and the ways in which people and ‘things’ might be willing to share certain personal travel information. This will be achieved through the novel use of smart phone and tagging technology to provide data feeds on activity and availability, monitored through a Platform that will anticipate opportunities for connections that are then made visible to users in the social network. The contribution from Bournemouth University focuses on reducing car dependence at UK tourism destinations. A series of experiments at campsites will explore to what extent the tagging of vehicles linked to dynamic data repositories of tourists daily experiences, needs and desires can break down social barriers and facilitate more cooperation. This enhanced temporal and spatial visibility could lead to better use of public transport, lift sharing to and from attractions, and the co-ordinated movement of ‘things’ (in terms of provisions) required by the collective members of the campsite.
6ST seeks to reduce energy consumption and emissions from the transport sector through an increase in adoption of sustainable travel modes and lower carbon travel choices.
User-groups associated with three experimental areas (urban logistics; primary education and tourism) will immediately benefit. In tourism the main beneficiaries are tourists (the end users), but also local transport providers, visitor attractions, local tourism associations and ultimately local residents. The key benefit will be the ability to positively alter transport behaviours (reducing CO2, enhancing quality of life and reducing travel costs). Beyond the timescale of the project (2.5 years), as a growing mass of users participate, there is potential to expand the scale of the impact into other domains (e.g. work, retail travel).
The project is due to start in August 2011 and has a total award value of £730k.
Dr Janet Dickinson will be leading the research at BU together with four partners (University of Southampton, University of Lancaster, Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Salford). Janet’s research is currently focused on the role of time in the consumption of tourist travel and the ‘slow travel’ concept.