Hexbyte Glen Cove Are you a ‘busy explorer’ or ‘quality time seeker?’ Study splits travelers according to time use, environmental impact

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Younger travelers in full-time work who feel the pressure to make the most of their holiday time are more likely to engage in activities that make their trips less sustainable, according to research led by Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University.

The study examines whether faster travel technologies—such as air or high-speed rail—trigger behavioral response of tourists, which may result in energy-intensive activities on holiday, defined in study as the Time Use Rebound Effect (TRE) in tourism.

Based on the data of more than 400 travelers, researchers categorized people into three groups—busy explorers, quality time seekers and travel time lovers—according to their psychological values and how they use their holiday time.

They found that busy explorers, represented by younger individuals who work full-time, prefer the fastest travel to/from a destination in order to maximize their time away. Preferring organized tours and a packed schedule, this group is more likely to travel further, visit new destinations and take part in activities such as water sports, city river cruises, and helicopter tours that leave a bigger carbon footprint.

By contrast, quality time seekers are generally older and retired people who have fewer time and financial constraints. They prioritize quality time on holiday and are less likely to change their behavior due to any time savings. They are also characterized by predictable holiday patterns, preferring domestic holidays to repeat destinations, and are less willing to rush around to activities and attractions while away, leading to less energy consumption and environmental impact.

The travel time lovers’ group, situated in between the other two clusters in terms of age, includes more students and part-time employed compared to the other clusters, and is closely linked to the lowest income group among the participants.

While travel time lovers are flexible in terms of time, their travel choices are often determined by costs. They were found to value the enjoyment of traveling to/from a destination the most, even by public transport, and had the highest preference for long-haul holidays across the clusters.

Across the clusters, younger busy explorers and travel time lovers showed more preference for environmentally friendly travel than those in the lovers’ group. This included hiring an environmentally friendly car or avoiding carbon-intense modes of transport while at their destination. Although airplane was the en-route mode used by the majority of the study participants, people in the youngest group also used less energy-intensive bus and coach travel more than the others, reflecting both the more affordable cost and pro-environmental perception and attitudes.

Dr. Soheon Kim, lead researcher and lecturer at the Marketing and Consumer Studies Research Centre, Nottingham Business School, said, “Time plays a significant role in tourism as it enables tourists to make different choices in relation to their en-route and onsite . Through this research we sought to understand tourists’ perceptions, attitudes and use of time to examine the implications for the environment. There have been many changes in travel technology which improve efficiency of energy and time, such as high-speed rails or autonomous cars, however we see that the behavioral response of some tourists negates these gains because their activity while away increases their carbon footprint—this is what we call the Time Use Rebound Effect in tourism.

“Our findings provide guidance on managing and protecting tourist destinations from the environmental impacts associated with travel within the destinations. For example, local governments or operators can offer local transport packages to appeal to such tourists as the busy explorers that use more transport options, for example, bus, rail, cycle, and even walk, for traveling between tourist attractions and activity sites. This will help tackle travel associated negative environmental impacts and allow tourists to have seamless between places without lags.”

The research was carried out in conjunction with the School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, University of Surrey, Hotelschool The Hague, and Bournemouth University Business School.



More information:
Soheon Kim et al, Tourist Perception of the Value of Time on Holidays: Implications for the Time Use Rebound Effect and Sustainable Travel Practice, Journal of Travel Research (2021). DOI: 10.1177/00472875211064636

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Climate change is a threat to Africa's transport systems: What must be done thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Climate change is a threat to Africa’s transport systems: What must be done

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Railway bridge over the river on the border with Tanzania. Credit: vladimirat/Shutterstock

Transportation infrastructure, such as roads and railway systems, is one of the sectors most threatened by climate change. Extreme weather events—such as flooding, sea level rises and storm surges—repeatedly wreak havoc on transport networks.

In Africa, extreme weather is a threat that can cause extensive structural damage. It can also accelerate the aging of infrastructure components. This can lead to considerable financial losses.

For instance, a recent report on Tanzania uncovered the vulnerability of the country’s transportation systems. Long stretches of road and rail networks are exposed to extreme flooding events, with growing exposure in the future.

The report estimated that worst-case disruptions to Tanzania’s multi-modal could cause losses of up to US$1.4 million per day. In addition, damage to these networks can disrupt the flow of goods and people, thereby lowering economic productivity.

This suggests that governments must ensure that transport infrastructure is developed with the ability to cope with current and future climatic shifts.

Fortunately an effective way to “-proof” transport infrastructure already exists within the planning machinery of governments. In our recent work, which investigated the Standard Gauge Rail in Tanzania, we show how and adaptation capabilities can be incorporated in environmental impact procedures.

Environmental impact assessment is a widespread environmental safeguard. It’s used by governments, donors and lending agencies when approving new development projects or major expansions to existing ones. The process can be used to identify climate risks and ensure that they are minimized through environmentally sound project design.

Transport infrastructure is vital to developing countries because efficient and reliable transport networks are critical for local and international trade. We hope that, with a changing climate, our findings offer useful lessons for policymakers, planners and developers.

Checking for risks

Environmental impact assessment is the essential process of identifying, predicting and evaluating the likely environmental impacts of a proposed development action, both positive and negative. These are risks to the project, and risks to the natural environment from the project.

The assessment is meant to happen before major decisions are taken and commitments made. Developers, both private and public, often commission registered environmental experts to carry out the study.

Virtually every country has some form of legislation that requires an environmental impact assessment. These are carried out on certain development projects, particularly those likely to have significant effects on the environment. This often includes major transport infrastructure.

The study culminates in a set of observations and recommendations, which regulators and developers are meant to take on board. Legislation usually provides for followups on whether they were. In countries with strong institutional frameworks, violators often face fines, suspension of operations or even jail time.

Because the assessment has to be carried out for major projects, it offers an efficient and direct way to include adaptation measures.

Tanzania’s railway

This is what happened for Tanzania’s Standard Gauge Railway.

The railway, a US$14.2 billion investment by the Tanzanian government, is currently under construction. It’s part of the “central corridor” connecting Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It will also provide access to the Indian ocean. The government contracted a Turkish firm, Yapi Merkezi, to design and build the project’s first phase, traversing about 541km. Work started in 2017.

Because it is vulnerable to climate change—there are particular concerns over heavy floods and landslides—the environmental impact assessment has tried to prepare the project for potential climate risks.

The assessment was conducted by a multidisciplinary team under an international consulting firm, Environmental Resources Management. They carried out climate projections along the proposed route and outlined adaptation measures for the projected risks.

Recommendations included using heat-resistant asphalt, installing flood defence walls and using reinforced steel. They also proposed a monitoring plan which outlined key monitoring aspects, indicators, responsible parties and timing.

Climate change issues are not explicitly prescribed by Tanzanian environmental impact assessment law and regulations. The drive to carry out the assessment was a result of pressure from climate-sensitive international lenders. It remains to be seen if the recommendations are implemented throughout construction and following project phases.

Our study demonstrates the huge potential of environmental impact assessments to foster adaptation in transport projects. It makes sense. Most African countries lack the necessary resources to invest in stand-alone adaptation projects.

Roadblocks to remove

Even though integrating climate change adaptation into an is a simple step, it’s not being done.

This is due to several challenges including a lack of knowledge, awareness, technical and financial resources, and legislative support. Tanzania’s laws and regulations, for instance, do not specifically mandate the practice.

Moreover, developers seldom go beyond what the law requires. Because of factors such as costs or time constraints, they would naturally view such requirements as unwelcome. Additional project approval processes could lead to delays and increased costs for the developer.

Climate-proofing projects

To ensure projects are “climate-proofed” in future, several steps must be taken.

First, laws and regulations must be formalized so that climate change is included in the assessment process. These must be supported by technical guidelines and strategic planning.

Second, there’s a need to make substantial investments in building capacity and raising awareness at the institutional level. In addition, climate data must be available and communication between climate scientists and assessment practitioners should be strengthened.

Finally, our paper calls for adaptation aid providers, development partners and international lenders—such as the World Bank, Africa Development Bank and the IMF—to leverage their influence, for instance through funding procedures. This would add pressure to include climate change scenarios in the planning process.



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Climate change is a threat to Africa’s transport systems: What must be done (2021, June 11)
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