Speeding Capsules of Alienation: Social (dis)connections amongst drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians in Vancouver, BC

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Every commute practice possesses a different degree and quality of technological mediation. Some mobilities scholars suggest that particular types of modal mediation may either alienate the traveller from, or connect them with, their passing environment. This research draws on forty-six in-depth interviews with drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians commuting in the City of Vancouver, and their commute narratives and GPS logs, to compare the relationships that these participants have with their passing social landscapes. The results both support and productively complicate the theories of modally induced alienation and connection with other concepts such as isolation and marginalization. Intermodal empathy, as formed through multi-mode use, offers hope, at least for mobilities interactions. The article concludes with several policy recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-102
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • mobilities
  • automobility
  • cycling
  • walking
  • alienation
  • empathy

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