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2018 International Geographical Union Regional Conference

The Transport and Geography Commission of IGU is organizing four themes of special sessions in the IGU 2018 Regional Conference, 6-10 August in Quebec City :

  • Big data for mobilities studies: Applications and critical perspectives
  • Relationships between airline networks, distance and technological change
  • Effects of transport investment on regeneration and social inclusion
  • Impacts of High Speed Rail

The Early Bird (cheapest rate Conference Fee) has been extended to 28th February.

** Submission Procedure:

Please send your abstract (max 250 words, including the object of study, research problem, methods, and conclusions), authors’ affiliation and contact details to the targeted session’s convener(s) as soon as possible (and in any case by 8 March).

Accepted contributors will then need to submit their abstract to the conference by 15 March 2018 at 11:59 pm EST through http://igu2018.ulaval.ca/registration-submission/how-to-submit/ .

This last step involves to first pay conference fees (see pricelist at http://igu2018.ulaval.ca/registration-submission/fees/).

Please see below details of our four special sessions.

** 1. Big data for mobilities studies: Applications and critical perspectives
Ana Condeco Melhorado amcondeco@gmail.com

The quantity and variety of Big Data have been increasing in recent years due to a network of sensors and portables, but also due to the use of Internet and social networks. This information is generated at great velocity which enables the study of dynamic processes in almost “real time”. In the technological era, human activity leaves a digital trace and frequently this trace is geolocalized. Some examples are the use of GPS for navigation, the activity/signal registered by our smartphones, the use of transport intelligent cards, bike renting systems, the use of credit cards or social networks.
These new sources of data are very useful for studying mobility patterns and improving transport planning. Therefore, we can estimate transit travel times using the API of Google Maps or TomTom data, or we can calculate origin and destination matrices using the activity recorded by our smartphones or transport intelligent cards. Traffic flows can be estimated using mobile phone data or using the video cameras to count cars or citizens in a street. Furthermore, public bicycle parking spots can be used to study their origin and destination flows and car parking data is useful to observe the number of cars parked in different locations. On the other hand, social networks are a valuable source of data for mobility pattern analysis, but also, we can look into qualitative aspects related with mobility by using semantic intelligence techniques.​
Big Data also raises the issue of both its technical and scientific limits. There is a big challenge in knowing the biases’ magnitude associated with Big Data. Knowing what or who is covered depends on the source of data and whether it is representative of different social groups and different kinds of mobilities.​ Therefore within this session there will be room to also debate about data quality, potential biases (e.g., related to the use of data obtained from a single phone provider, use of social networks etc.) and various data restrictions.

** 2. Relationships between airline networks, distance and technological change
Frederic Dobruszkes fdobrusz@ulb.ac.be

The geography of airline networks can be understood as shaped by numerous factors including economic patterns, migration patterns, regulatory regimes, strategies pursued by airlines, intermodal competition, various kinds of incentives, distances involved and technological changes related to aircraft. Surprisingly, the latter two have not received so much attention apart from books on the airline business and its impacts on economic geography and from authors who have investigated network concentration/dispersion notably in regards to aircraft distance range.
As a result, this special session intends to improve knowledge of the relationships among airline networks, the role of distance and technological change.

Potential topics may include (non-exhaustive list):
– How much the increased number and variety of ultra-long-haul aircraft (i.e. capable of flying twelve hours nonstop) have affected the geography ultra-long-haul routes?
– Bypassed? The risk of longer distance ranges for existing hubs
– The use of aviation for ultra-short trips
– New potential routes following the introduction of extended-range single-aisle planes
– Do air services weaken or reinforce centre-periphery structures?
– The development of places most dependent on long-haul air services (e.g., specific tourist places and several African cities)
– The use of higher capacity planes on shorter routes
– Has the A380 affected airline networks?
– Shorter vs. cheaper: Investigating the magnitude of detours imposed by the Middle-East hubs
– Do low-cost airlines threaten longer high-speed rail services (or vice versa)?
– Etc.

** 3. Effects of transport investment on regeneration and social inclusion
Richard Knowles r.d.knowles@salford.ac.uk
& Chia-Lin Chen chia-lin.chen@xjtlu.edu.cn
& Wojciech Kębłowski wojciech.keblowski@vub.be

As captured by the notion of ‘splintering urbanism’, networked transport infrastructure tends to prioritise major economic centres at the expense of bypassed territories. It is in the latter that the challenge of growing demand for mobility is exacerbated by increasing territorial inequality, social exclusion and transport poverty—all these issues do not appear to be addressed head-on by transport policies. These aspects are especially important when market forces do not appear to be a sufficient factor in terms of improving transport accessibility in disadvantaged areas. Furthermore, transport in itself does not appear to have the power to automatically ensure wider inclusion effects, and therefore supporting strategies are needed to exploit the opportunity enhanced transport connectivity might bring.
The extent to which the social and regeneration needs are taken into account varies among different national and urban contexts. The use of conventional cost-benefit analysis (CBA) approaches in transport decision making has generated important issues concerning redistribution and social justice, social inclusion and transformation effects in transport. CBA has hence been the subject of growing criticism from the 1970s onwards, to which additional impetus was added in the last five years. However important social and regeneration effects of transport and mobility can be, they are often difficult to be quantified and captured in mainstream transport appraisals. Furthermore, there has been a paucity of theoretical and empirical studies which are available to probe into the relationship between investment in transport and mobility and social and regeneration effects.
Consequently, we argue that transport-related decision-making should ultimately be considered as inherently political, rather than a supposedly technical and “rational” exercise relying on appraisal techniques and modelling practices. Thus, this special session invites contributions that while exploring the growing societal relevance of investment in transport and mobility, reach past questions regarding transport capacity and efficiency. We welcome work that provides new theoretical insights into developing critical perspectives on social inclusion and regeneration effects of transport investments, as well as empirical evidence from actually existing transport policies and projects.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
– Exploring the nature of decision making in investment of transport and mobility beyond rational exercises, and incorporating political, psychological, and philosophical dimensions.
– Exploring the nature of social and regeneration effects from investment in transport and mobility.
– Innovative methods of measuring non­-quantifiable social and regeneration effects in transport-related appraisal.
– Innovations in transport-related policy, initiatives, participatory mechanisms and institutional governance in addressing social and regeneration effects.
– A deeper understanding of the transformational process through investment in transport and mobility for social and regeneration effects for disadvantaged areas.
– Critical perspectives on alternative transport appraisal frameworks that embrace priorities against societal goals such as accessibility, social inclusion, redistribution, equity, regeneration.

** 4. Impacts of High Speed Rail
Andrew Goetz agoetz@du.edu
& Chia-Lin Chen chia-lin.chen@xjtlu.edu.cn

High-speed rail (HSR) systems continue to expand around the world, resulting in significant geographical impacts with regard to accessibility, connectivity, intermodal competition, urban form, and regional development, among many other aspects.   Since the first HSR line opened between Tokyo and Osaka in 1964, lines have been built in Japan, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Turkey, China, South Korea, and Taiwan. According to the Union of International Railways (UIC), more than 37,000 kilometers (kms) of HSR lines are in operation worldwide today with another 16,000 kms under construction. China has by far the largest network with nearly 24,000 kms in operation, over 10,000 kms under construction and over 1200 kms planned.  Japan has over 3000 kms in operation, while Spain and France each have over 2000 kms currently in operation with lines under construction or planned that would bring their totals to over 4000 kms each.  Other countries each have less than 2000 kms in operation, although both Germany and Turkey have lines under construction or planned that would bring their networks to over 2000 kms.  India, Russia, and Thailand each have plans to develop HSR systems of over 2000 kms.  Canada, the host country for IGU 2018, is planning a HSR line between Toronto and London, Ontario with a western extension to Windsor, and a possible eastern extension to Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City.

This session invites papers that interrogate the geographical impacts of operational or planned high-speed rail systems throughout the world.  Potential topics may include:
– Time-space convergence/divergence and HSR lines
– Accessibility, connectivity, and HSR network analysis
– Intermodal competition
– Planning issues in new HSR development
– Urban form and HSR
– Station area development
– Regional economic development
– Environmental impacts
– Other geographical impacts of HSR