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The Information Age is the result of the convergence of computer and digital communications that permit instant worldwide transmission of voice, text, data and images. Telecommunication technologies are liberating the locations of work and residence, driving the need for new transportation concepts that blur the traditional meaning of intercity trips (travel between cities) and intracity trips (travel within cities) to consolidate these locations within economical travel of times, costs, and high reliability.
"The death of distance as a determinant of the cost of communicating will probably be the single most important force shaping society in the first half of the next century.
"The result may not necessarily be less traveling - indeed when people need to meet their electronic contacts they may actually travel further than before - but traveling will be of a different kind."
"Death of Distance", Frances Cairncross of "The Economist"
The Interactive Megalopolis
From 1980 to 1990, the fastest percentage growing transportation market in the United States, by a two to one margin, was commuters who travel between metropolitan regions versus commuters who travel within the metropolis. This is the result of significant changes occurring in the workplace and at home: increasing labor specialization; decreasing labor tenure; and the prevalence of two-income households. To achieve significant productivity gains in the New Age Economy, the urban commuting region needs to expand beyond the metropolitan confines of the previous age.
Just as the worker in the 1950 to 1980 period commuted from outlying suburbs by commuter rail or the automobile, the New Economy will see the development of the Interactive Megalopolis. This new urban form will cluster metropolitan regions linked by advanced telecommunications and transportation systems. Increased labor accessibility between metropolitan regions will result in better job matches without the need for residential relocation.
In the New Economy, it is "Knowledge Capital," a portable asset that will attract international investment and not "Asset Capital" composed of buildings and worker tools. Urban regions that can increase accessibility to "Knowledge Capital" while managing the environmental, social and economic costs of increased travel will prosper in the Information Age.