Menu

Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

Virtual Mobility and Pollution Prevention - The Emerging Role of ICT Based Communication in Organisations and its Impact on Travel

Author:
  • Peter Arnfalk
Publishing year: 2002
Language: English
Pages:
Publication/Series: IIIEE dissertations
Volume: 2002:1
Document type: Dissertation
Publisher: Library at the IIIEE, P.O. Box 196, 221 00 LUND,

Abstract english

Popular Abstract in Swedish

Användningen av informations och kommunikationsteknik (IKT eller IT) påverkar vårt sätt att kommunicera i arbetslivet. Det underlättar distansarbete och skapar möjligheter till s.k. virtuella möten - att samarbeta utan att träffas fysiskt. Detta kan i sin tur påverka behovet av pendlings- och tjänsteresor, genom att vi får tillgång information, en funktion eller en tjänst utan att behöva resa - virtuell mobilitet. Då resandet medför stora miljöproblem är detta intressant ur miljösynpunkt, för samhället i stort och för enskilda organisationer. Men dessa tekniska tillämpningar behöver inte nödvändigtvis leda till en resminskning. De är dessutom är kopplade till en rad andra miljökonsekvenser, då de påverkar vårt behov av bl.a. teknisk utrustning, nätverk, och arbetsyta.



Detta leder till en rad frågeställningar. Kan distansarbete och virtuella möten reducera arbetsrelaterat resande och därigenom de miljöproblem som resandet leder till? Kan det vara berättigat att stimulera tillämpningarna från ett miljöperspektiv, om man även tar hänsyn till andra miljökonsekvenser utöver resandet? Vilka faktorer påverkar utfallet? På vilket sätt kan man miljöanpassa utformningen av distansarbete och virtuella möten? Säger resultaten oss något om andra tillämningar av virtuell mobilitet som t.ex. telemedicin?



Svaret på dessa frågor har sökts genom att studera och analysera vilka effekter som distansarbete och virtuella möten har på resandet, samt utvärdera vilken den sammantagna miljöeffekten blir. Drivkrafter och barriärer för att uppnå större miljövinster har identifierats, och vägar till en mer miljöanpassad utformning av tillämpningarna föreslås.
Information and Communication Technologies change the way we work and communicate, enabling us to telework and to have virtual meetings - collaborating without a physical meeting. This can influence the need for commuting and business travel by provision of access to an activity without mobility - virtual mobility. The large environmental impact of travel makes this potential travel reduction interesting, from a societal perspective as well as for individual organisations. However, these technology applications do not necessarily lead to travel substitution. They also have other environmental implications, as they change our need for technical equipment, building space and so forth.



Can telework and virtual meetings reduce travel and associated environmental impacts in an organisation? If this is the case, is promotion of these applications justifiable, taking other environmental implications into account? What factors influence the outcome? How can the adoption of telework and virtual meetings be environmentally improved? What does this tell us regarding other virtual mobility applications such as Telemedicine?



These questions were addressed through analysis of travel and environmental implications for telework and virtual meetings in several organisations. Drivers and barriers to environmental enhancement are identified, and pathways to 'greening' the applications are provided.



On average 64% of the respondents in four organisations studied experienced that videoconferencing had substituted their business travels, and 45% of the teleworkers in one organisation claimed that telework reduced their commuter travel. On average 2% had experienced an increase in business travel due to videoconferencing, and 10% claimed that telework had led to more travel.



Estimations of CO2 emissions in different scenarios indicated that telework in 'worst-case' could lead to an overall increase of CO2 emissions, but also a substantial reduction in the 'best-case'. Virtual meetings in both cases led to emission reductions, however, the scenario outcomes differed largely.



The main drivers for the organisations were the possibility to save time and money. The benefits for individuals were mainly social. Barriers to more significant environmental gains were identified within organisational, institutional, personal and practical categories. Travel savings are not promoted due to lack of incentives, both on the individual and organisational level. For virtual meetings, lack of training and experience, support, and routines limited the use. Telework was limited by information management and meetings routines not being adapted to telework, lack of acceptance from management, and insufficient technology and network connection.



For virtual meetings, enhancing the environmental outcome may include shifting the focus from travel to meetings and communication, training and education of key personnel, and creating incentives for employees. For telework, the key factor is to enable people to work whole days by removing practical and organisational barriers. Some parallel findings and conclusions were found for telemedicine.

Disputation

2002-05-08
10:00
The Aula at the IIIEE, Tegnersplatsen 4 in Lund.
  • Patricia Mokhtarian (Prof)

Keywords

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • pollution control
  • Environmental technology
  • travel reduction
  • pollution prevention
  • telework
  • web-meetings
  • audioconferencing
  • videoconferencing
  • virtual mobility
  • virtual communication
  • IT
  • IKT
  • ICT
  • Miljöteknik
  • kontroll av utsläpp
  • Informatics
  • systems theory
  • Informatik
  • systemteori
  • Telecommunication engineering
  • Telekommunikationsteknik

Other

Published
  • ISSN: 1402-3016
  • ISBN: 91-88902-23-4


International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE)

Lund University P.O. Box 196, 22100 Lund, Sweden
Visiting Address: Tegnérsplatsen 4,Lund

Telephone: + 46 46 222 00 00 Fax: + 46 46 222 02 10