Beating long trips with a smartphone? A case study of Beijing residents

Smartphone has become a desired product and even a necessity for more and more workers. This manuscript first proposes a framework for the effects of smartphone use on travel based on existing studies and anecdotal evidence. It then hypothesizes that usage of smartphone can increase the tolerance (or in other words, increase perceived benefits or positive utility of travel time) of a long trip (one type of “productivity effect” as per the above framework). It undertakes a survey of local residents in Beijing (valid sample n = 271) to validate the above hypothesis. Based on an ordered probit model, it examines whether and how the tolerance varies by factors such as socio-demographic characteristics, personal preference, and smartphone usage pattern. Its main findings are that: (a) smartphone usage significantly increases the tolerance of travel time; (b) the above tolerance varies across residents of different ages, preference, and employment statuses; (c) the tolerance is correlated to whether residents value the jobs-housing proximity; (d) younger, unemployed, or low-income smartphone users bear on average longer travel time than other users; (e) railway transit riders tend to see fewer productivity effects as compared to riders of other transit modes (e.g., regular bus). The findings indicate that the emergence of smartphone has some potential to ameliorate the situations of increased travel time, traffic congestion, and jobs-housing separation and to increase perceived benefits of travel time among some residents. This potential, nevertheless, is moderated by other factors such as preference, age, mode of travel, and employment status. Policy analysts and scholars need to probe further into the above tolerance and its influencing factors so as to take fuller advantage of the productivity effect of smart phones.


  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01663863
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 7 2018 3:08PM