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Hypermobility is a term coined by Professor John Adams of University College London, to describe the societal changes that have happened in the latter part of the 20th century when humans have increasingly gained the ability to travel much greater distances with ease than in previous generations, and frequently do so.

Although the amount of time people have spent in motion has remained constant since 1950, the shift from feet and bicycles to cars and planes has increased the speed of travel fivefold.[1] This results in the twin effects of wider and shallower regions of social activity around each person (further exacerbated by electronic communication which is a form of virtual mobility), and a degradation of the social and physical environment brought about by the high speed traffic (as documented by Donald Appleyard).

The changes are brought about locally due to the use of cars and motorways, and internationally by aeroplanes. Some of the threats of hypermobility include:[2]

  • more polarisation between rich and poor
  • more anonymous and less convivial communities
  • less cultural variation
  • increased risk to pedestrians
  • reduced health and fitness

Widespread internet use is seen as a contributory factor towards hypermobility due to the increased ease which it enables travel to be desired and organized.[3]

Some governments promote private hypermobility through their road-building policies, and public hypermobility though mass transit..[4][5] Punitive car taxation has been proposed to limit the environmental impact of hypermobility.[6]


  1. John Adams. Proceedings from the Ottawa Workshop - OECD.
  2. includeonly>"Hypermobility: The road to ruin", BBC, 11 December 1999.
  3. includeonly>"Gridlock? Blame the net", BBC, 21 November 2001.
  4. John Ware. Still waiting for the bus. BBC.
  5. includeonly>"Transport has been a terrible failure - but it can be fixed", The Guardian, 12 March 2007.
  6. includeonly>Simon Jenkins. "Admit it, we're travel addicted. Let the taxman put the brakes on", The Times, 3 December 2006.
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