John’s place of work is no longer a convenient car journey away. Having moved job again he now has a 90-minute train journey to get home each evening. The train departs at 5.30pm. He switches on his laptop computer complete with TV receiver and watches the news. Half an hour later he calls his wife on the mobile, who is herself journeying home.
They compare information about respective times of arrival, referring to real time information that each can access. Out with the gin and tonic to accompany sending some work-related and personal emails and then the journey is over. 15 minutes later he pulls the car into the drive having collected a takeaway meal for two ordered by mobile phone during the train journey. His wife returns a bit later. They talk as they eat about journey times and computer crashes. They relax in the TV room watching a DVD, they listen to music downloaded from the internet, they check future flights on the internet and they send and receive pictures and messages on their 3G phones. Their children regularly interrupt the evening with phone, text and pictures to indicate where they are and when and how they will return. When one child fails to reply to a text within a short period, anxiety levels rise dramatically.
Glenn Lyons & John Urry (2004) The use and value of travel time, unpublished paper