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Christa Hubers, Tim Schwanen and Martin Dijst

Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 2008, vol. 99, issue 5, 528-546

Abstract: It is commonly believed that the widespread use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) facilitates the fragmentation of daily activities across times and spaces. However, a clear conceptualisation of what fragmentation is and how it can be measured empirically has been lacking. As a consequence, hardly any empirical evidence has been provided for these notions. The goal of this paper is twofold: (1) to propose a theoretical and methodological framework for identifying and measuring activity fragmentation; and (2) to assess temporal fragmentation empirically and consider its associations with ICT usage while controlling for sociodemographic variables, residential context, day of the week, activity pattern characteristics and some attitudinal variables. Activity fragmentation is defined as a process whereby a certain activity is divided into several smaller pieces, which are performed at different times and/or locations. The proposed theoretical and methodological framework covers three main dimensions of fragmentation: the number of fragments; the distribution of the sizes of fragments; and the temporal configuration of fragments. Based on travel diary data from the Netherlands the analytical results are insightful and promising. The framework is not only capable of detecting temporal activity fragmentation for various trip purposes, but there are also indications of a positive relation between ICT usage and temporal fragmentation.

Date: 2008
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