‘The Traffic’s Never Bad Round Here; You Should See Where I Live’: The Relative Experience of Transport Problems in a Rural Destination Area
This source preferred by Janet Dickinson
Authors: Dickinson, J.E.
Start date: 18 September 2006
Within the tourism impacts literature transport is regularly cited as causing key impacts at destination areas. Thus studies of transport and tourism start from the base that there is a problem to be addressed. This study started from this perspective but the findings challenge this. The study focused on dilemmas and contradictions found within travel behaviour using Purbeck, Dorset, a rural tourism destination in the UK, as a case study. The paper will present data on travel patterns, travel behaviour decisions, experiences of travel problems and coping mechanisms. Exploratory research involving in-depth interviews with residents identified a typical emphasis on local travel problems. Congestion and parking stress were key themes. Residents went on to describe a variety of coping mechanisms that were employed. Problems and subsequent coping mechanisms thus became a theme in further research with the visiting population. However, data compiled using travel diaries and a large scale questionnaire survey revealed car based visitors had few concerns. Problems were seen to be minor and there was felt to be little or no need to modify behaviour to cope in any way. Visitors expressed concern about high parking charges but these did little to deter car use. Bus users and cyclists identified proportionally more problems though many of these were minor. Analysis suggests problems are shaped by people’s experience of place, are socially constructed and reproduced with consequent implications for transport management. The paper will in particular explore the implications for responsibility. Residents project the responsibility onto visitors yet visitors do not identify with the problem in the first place thus see little need to take action and feel persecuted by high parking costs. Sampling bias is also considered and the potential to neglect those who have encountered travel problems through the use of attraction based surveys.