טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentHagiladi Na'amah
SubjectSocial Networks and Travel Behaviour in the Urban
Environment
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor Professor Pnina Plaut


Abstract

As the use of internet and Smartphone applications grows, our social networks no longer reside within the confines of family ties, neighbours, or school mates. Virtual groups and communication applications allow us to build up both our individual net of social ties, as well as group-based associated connections. While boundaries between friends and colleagues are blurring, so does our daily schedule intertwined between different types of meetings and groups.; The goal of this research is to explore the relationship between Social Networks and travel behavior within the urban context. Two questions were addressed:  The first is focused on the aspect of the social tie, by asking: what Social Networks parameters are important for travel behaviour study? Which variables are location based and which are SN based?

 The second is focused on the urban context, hence asking: what is the impact of social networks' formation of travel and the choice of meeting locations within the urban context?


This research relates to a growing multidisciplinary field at which leisure travel is analyzed via aspects of communication, travel behavior and social networks. All studies conducted thus far are based upon Wellman's theories, according to which the modern society is transforming from a society centered upon local structures, to one rooted within individuals' contacts. By relating both to Feld's Foci theory and Hägerstrand time-space geography theory , it is the purpose of this study to understand the way meetings (between friends, colleagues, or family members) are taking place in the city and their  associated travel patterns.


The study developed an online questionnaires to trace the travel behavior patterns of groups (i.e. three and more) who met in the city of Tel Aviv, Israel. Spatial analysis of Tel Aviv was conducted, based on the city's GIS services. It included the city's land-use patterns, street structure, and public transport network. By using a GIS based analysis, the study has integrated the Social Networks and spatial information gained from about 200 questionnaires, with that gathered from the Tel Aviv GIS services.

Two measurements were constructed  for CART analysis and regression models: the first is a measurement of the strength of the Social Network Group Ties based on name generator questions amongst the meeting members, and the second is an 800 radii walkability measurement around meeting locations. Results of the first identified there is a link between travel efforts and the strength of the group social tie, as duration of meetings tend to be longer the stronger the group ties were. This supports findings from current studies on dyad relations according to which travel effort correlates positively with strong ties.

The second model relates meeting locations with tie strength and travel context.  Findings show, the stronger the relation, the more likely the meeting will take place at a more walkable area. This brings to the fore the meaning of communications and compromises existing with  close bounding (especially) amongst friends: it is suggested to see the triad relations as a form of constraints, which juxtaposes over the physical constraints.