Friday, November 11, 2005

Not bowling alone

Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone was almost a blockbuster (by academic standards) and the author made the cover of People mag and was courted by both of the Clinton's. To the left, there is something exhilarating about the pessimistic view of modern America.

But are we bowling alone? Cell phone use is everywhere; the most casual observer can see how obsessive we are about being and staying connected. The joke in California is that when one next takes the Department of Motor Vehicle's multiple choice license renewal exam, the answer to the question about who has the right of way is: The one speaking on his/her cell phone.

The 1990/2001 NPTS/NHTS trends on travel that I had mentioned earlier show that social and recreational person-trips (their category) were up 30% -- while worktrips increased 23% and population grew by 16%.

We are increasingly connected. And our interactions, physical and other, are complements.