Local transport and social representations: Challenging the assumptions for sustainable tourism

This source preferred by Janet Dickinson

Authors: Dickinson, J.E. and Dickinson, J.A.

Journal: Journal of Sustainable Tourism

Volume: 14

Pages: 192-208

ISSN: 0966-9582

The dilemma of how to manage tourism related traffic at rural destinations in the UK is examined using a social representation perspective. In transport initiatives, alternatives to the car typically gain low use levels and their perceived success is poor, while measures to limit car access and use are negatively perceived by the public. Traditional transport planning is based on analysis of objective data, such as road capacity, and measures of individual attitudes that predict how people will respond to a transport initiative. However, studies show that people do not behave in predictable patterns related to their attitudes. Travel is a social and cultural phenomenon and the social and cultural assumptions that underlie reported attitudes to transport have not been investigated. This paper poses a challenge to the assumptions of current research and proposes an approach that explores the multiplicity of social realities that underpin our attitudes towards transport, tourism and subsequent behaviour. A review of initiatives and transport research in this field examines how representations of transport and tourism are created, evolved and accepted into people’s thinking about transport. Directions and approaches for future research are proposed together with directions for sustainable transport at destinations.

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Authors: Dickinson, J.E. and Dickinson, J.A.

Journal: Journal of Sustainable Tourism

Volume: 14

Issue: 2

Pages: 192-208

ISSN: 0966-9582

DOI: 10.1080/09669580608669052

The dilemma of how to manage tourism related traffic at rural destinations in the UK is examined using a social representation perspective. In transport initiatives, alternatives to the car typically gain low use levels and their perceived success is poor, while measures to limit car access and use are negatively perceived by the public. Traditional transport planning is based on analysis of objective data, such as road capacity, and measures of individual attitudes that predict how people will respond to a transport initiative. However, studies show that people do not behave in predictable patterns related to their attitudes. Travel is a social and cultural phenomenon and the social and cultural assumptions that underlie reported attitudes to transport have not been investigated. This paper poses a challenge to the assumptions of current research and proposes an approach that explores the multiplicity of social realities that underpin our attitudes towards transport, tourism and subsequent behaviour. A review of initiatives and transport research in this field examines how representations of transport and tourism are created, evolved and accepted into people's thinking about transport. Directions and approaches for future research are proposed together with directions for sustainable transport at destinations. © 2006 J.E. Dickinson & J.A. Dickinson.

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