What Is Time Space Compression

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What Is Time Space Compression

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Received: 31 July 2022 / Revised: 2 October 2022 / Accepted: 14 October 2022 / Published: 18 October 2022

This study proposes a time-space compression (TSC) model and evaluates the TSC effect of high-speed rail (HSR) on a sample of 2662 classified tourist destinations in China from 2008 to 2019 using GIS technology. Based on panel models, this study finds within five hours that: (1) the TSC effect of HSR on tourist destinations in eastern and central China is three times stronger than that in western and northeastern China; (2) the negative influence coefficient of TSC of HSR on the development of tourism destinations in China within the temporal distance (3 h, 4 h, and 5 h) is -0.193, -0.117, and -0.091, respectively; and (3) the greater the temporal distance, the weaker the inhibitory effect. The results of this study contribute to the literature by providing empirical evidence of a possible negative TSC effect on regional and tourism development. The findings provide management implications suggesting that tourist destinations should implement marketing policies to retain tourists and avoid loss of tourists due to the opening of HSR.

Harvey Lecture Part 2

At the beginning of the 19th century, Harvey [1] coined the term “destruction of time by space” to describe the new reality of mobility based on revolutionary technological developments in transportation. Physical distance is not a systemic factor in considering mobility, but a subjective sense of time-space [2], that is, the individual’s experience of time and space under the influence of sensation and perception. In recent years, the provision of quality transport infrastructure such as HSR has been considered a prerequisite for experience, as well as the material basis of travelers’ understanding of space and time.

Modern transport facilities and accessibility are important conditions for the healthy development of tourist destinations. Above tourist infrastructure and other classic determinants, Khadaroo and Seetana identified that transport infrastructure is an important determinant of the flow of tourism to a destination. From a technical perspective, HSR has been proven to be a safe, convenient and efficient mode of transportation [4]. As a more competitive and attractive mode of transportation [5, 6] and as a sustainable enterprise [7], HSR has become an important service for hub cities and promoted business and leisure tourism development in cities [8, 9]. For example, the Spanish HSR, known as AVE (Alta Velocidad Española), is considered a success [10], and the Japanese Shinkansen system, also known as “HSR corridors,” greatly reduces travel times [11]. TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) services benefit from well-known tourist destinations in France, and the availability of TGV adds value to tourism development [12]. China’s HSR is considered a success because it has emerged as one of the most important modes of travel for residents and has improved service quality and infrastructure technical standards [13].

Studies on the impact of HSR on the spatial structure of tourism can be traced back to the 90s. The results of Gutierrez et al. [14] The opening of the HSR was shown to improve overall tourism accessibility in Europe. In the literature, accessibility is the main research perspective to study the relationship between HSR and the spatial structure of regional tourism. There is a general consensus that HSR reduces travel costs, shortens travel distances, changes urban accessibility, and thus transforms tourist destinations. Few existing studies investigate the effects of HSR on the extent of TSC. However, most of the existing studies have focused only on tourist destinations without examining the physical distance of some famous scenic spots. Famous scenery representing tourist destinations should be considered as the starting point of TSC effect, and to study the TSC effect caused by HSR, the actual location of famous scenery should not be ignored. Tourism markets with relatively short distances may show quite different responses to the application of HSR to access tourist destinations. Furthermore, the introduction of HSR not only brings some tourism-generating areas closer to a tourist destination, but also reaches new tourist markets previously inaccessible by public transport. From a research method perspective, tourism scholars have adopted some policy methods and econometric models to study the impact of HSR, such as DID and PSM-DID [ 17 , 18 ]. However, limited studies have specifically quantified the magnitude of the TSC effect of tourist destinations on the impact of HSR.

To fill these gaps, this study reviews the literature on HSR development and its impact on tourism, as well as theoretical developments surrounding TSC, and proposes a TSC model for tourism destination development based on temporal distance. The TSC effect is further conceptualized in two forms: the time compression (TC) effect and the spatial expansion (SE) effect. Using a dataset on a sample of 2662 AAAA and AAAAA classified tourist destinations in China, this study evaluates the TSC effect of HSR on tourist destinations.

How Do We Understand Place?

Time and space are so “natural” that they are fundamental categories of human existence [ 19 , 20 ]. In the field of geography, time-space compression has been extensively addressed in the literature, especially in recent decades. Janelle [21] proposed the concept of “time-space convergence” to describe the rate at which travel times are decreasing through transportation and communication innovation. TSC, developed by Harvey [ 22 ], is different from time-space integration; It not only implies time-space integration, but also underlines the ability of technology (railroads, highways, airlines, etc.) to reduce spatial barriers and destroy space through time. As a Marxist, Harvey examines the intersecting command of money, time, and space as fundamental sources of social power. He found that the revolutionary qualities of the capitalist mode of production, marked by strong currents of technological change and rapid economic growth and development, were associated with powerful revolutions in social understandings of space and time [23]. With this, as a result of the destruction of space and the compression of time and space, on the one hand, the pace of people’s lives is accelerated and spatial barriers are removed. On the other hand, communication in politics, economy and culture of different regions of the world is accelerating, hence the current globalization results. The fields of culture, politics and society are brought within the TSC experience as a new research perspective and a stimulus for rethinking the reconstruction of industry in contemporary social life.

Some authors have discussed how society has compressed time and space, although they are slippery subjects [20]. Additional aspects such as absolute time-space integration [24], significant time-space integration of accessibility [25], intercity connectivity [26] or mobility [27] have also been added to the discussion. In particular, speed, particularly the struggle for time, is intricately related to TSC [28], and a considerable amount of literature has been developed on its temporal and spatial dimensions. In an effort to reduce the resistance of space, time becomes a form of currency once it is instrumentalized [29]. Other studies focused on issues such as transportation and technology. Advances such as transportation and communication technologies contribute to the conquest of space [30] and the overcoming of all spatial barriers [31], ultimately contributing to the “destruction of space through time”. People with free access to the connection network can produce more products and reach more places in a given time. The result, on the one hand, “compresses” the time and space that people experience, and on the other hand, people have more time and a greater range of activities [23, 32].

There are many contributions in the literature regarding TSC and transport modes such as rail, HSR, and air transport [ 33 ].

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