chapter  7
Dynamic Social Networks and Travel
ByFariya Sharmeen, Theo Arentze and Harry J.P. Timmermans
Pages 16

A social network is a representation of an individual’s social connectedness. Fields as distinct as health, psychology and marketing are involved in social network research. A recent promising addition is the field of travel behaviour. In travel behaviour research, traditional factors of interests are facets of travel choice (such as frequency and transport mode) and ownership of mobility resources (such as car, bicycle, discount cards, period travel passes). Gradually, the concern shifted from trip-based to activity-based approaches to model travel properly as a derived demand from the activities that people conduct in space and time. The attention also shifted from individuals to households. Consequently, joint activity scheduling, task allocation, and resource allocation were incorporated in the choice models (Borgers et al. 2002; Ettema et al. 2004; Schwanen et al. 2007; Zhang et al. 2005). However, joint activities do not only involve household members, but may also include members of a person’s social network. Often, we negotiate with our friends and family about where to go for holidays, who should host the New Year party or what movie to go to this weekend. Each individual is part of social networks and individual behaviour will be influenced by peer groups. Spatial behaviour analysis is incomplete without an understanding of this social dimension. To better understand people’s activity-travel patterns, we need to understand how people select and organize their social contacts, adding a whole new dimension of transport behaviour modelling research. However, there is another distinct, and often ignored, feature of personal social networks: it is dynamic. It changes with time and with life course. In this Chapter, we emphasize the need to explain social networks and corresponding activity behaviour in a dynamic perspective. We conclude the chapter with a discussion of constraints and benefits of incorporating these dynamics and suggest directions of future research.