Soft measures and transport behaviour Prepared for a workshop entitled “Communicating Environmentally Sustainable Transport—The role of soft measures in achieving EST” Berlin, Germany, 5-6 December, 2002 Enquiries about this paper should be addressed to Richard Gilbert at [email protected] com Enquiries about the workshop should be addressed to Peter Wiederkehr at peter. [email protected] org or to Hedwig Verron at hedwig. [email protected] de Umwelt Bundes Amt SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter 1.
Examples of hard measures designed to change transport behaviour are: taxes: high fuel taxes are imposed in part to discourage excessive vehicle use regulations: speed limits are imposed to reduce dangerous driving or fuel use infrastructure: bicycle paths are introduced to encourage cycling. Soft measures are other actions taken by government to change behaviour. They usually involve the provision of factual information or the linking of behaviour with positive or negative outcomes.
Examples of soft measures are: factual information: provision of information about a new bus service to increase bus use positive association: portraying bicycle use as conducive to good physical health negative association: portraying car use as a contributor to poor air quality. Other terms used to characterize soft measures include attitude change, education, and persuasion. Soft measures can be directed at communities rather than individuals. A program designed to raise a community’s awareness of the health consequences of traffic noise, and perhaps even stimulate political action, is an example of the use of soft measures.
Some authors have used the term ‘hard measures’ to refer to changes in vehicle fleet or infrastructure, or both, and use ‘soft measures’ to refer to other means of securing a change in transport activity or transport’s impacts. According to this usage, taxes and regulations could be soft measures. 1† Thus, care should be taken to note what is being meant when the term soft measures is used. In the usage of the present paper, a distinctive feature of soft measures is that they are noncoercive and relatively low in cost; i. e. they do not include taxes, regulations or major investments in infrastructure. 2 This paper’s focus is on the use of soft measures to change transport behaviour towards Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST). The OECD has developed a formal definition of EST: An environmentally sustainable transport system is one that does not endanger public health or ecosystems and meets needs for access consistent with (a) use of renewable resources at below their rates of regeneration, and (b) use of non-renewable resources at below the rates of development of renewable substitutes.
The OECD’s work on EST and the need to make progress towards EST are discussed further in Chapter 2 of this report. Access is a key concept in the definition of EST. It refers to acceptable levels of availability of social and business contacts, goods and services, realisable with or without travel or other physical movement. An aspect of access is availability of destinations, which has been estimated † Superscript numbers refer to End Notes that begin on Page 50. 3 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR or west Germany for 1960-1990—a period of extraordinarily rapid motorisation—as shown in Figure 1. 4 While the number of cars rose more than sevenfold, the number of destinations reached hardly changed at all. Data from two recent major surveys of urban travel support the finding of increased mobility without much increase in access; they show that in the 1990s trips by car replaced walking and public transport trips with hardly any increase in the overall number of trips made. 5 Figure 1.
Mobility in west Germany, 1960-1990 Number of cars Ratio to 1960 value Car-kilometres Person-kilometres by car Car journeys Destinations reached Transport behaviour includes anything that people do that is related to the movement of people or the movement of freight. Hard and soft measures are mostly used to change the transport behaviour of individuals and communities. They can also be used to change what vehicle manufacturers and infrastructure providers do. This kind of behaviour is not discussed here.
Changes in transport behaviour that represent progress towards EST include the following: Movement of people More careful driving Higher occupancy; car-pooling Downsizing cars Shifting from the car to public transport Shifting within public transport from air and bus to rail Shifting from motorised to non-motorised modes Reducing travel; replacing it with electronic communications Movement of freight More careful driving of vehicles More complete loading Shifting from air and road to rail Reducing material flows; replacing them with electronic communications Although the movement of freight can have comparable environment effects to the movement of people (see Figure 3 and Figure 4 below), this paper focuses much more on the movement of people. This is done because of data availability and also because soft measures are usually thought of as acting on travellers rather than on shippers or carriers of goods.
However, soft 4 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR measures may have as much application in the movement of freight as in the movement of people. 6 Figure 2 provides an example of changing behaviour with respect to freight transport. 7 Figure 2. Environmental demands by Swedish customers for freight transport services The purpose of this paper is to help guide and even provoke discussion at the workshop to be held in Berlin on 5-6 December, 2002, entitled Communicating Environmentally Sustainable Transport—The roles of soft measures in achieving EST. In places, the paper errs on the side of pessimism as to the opportunities provided by soft measures.
This has been done in the hope that workshop participants will be stimulated to contradict what is in the paper and bring forward important evidence of soft measures’ positive effects. Moreover, the paper presents a point of view that favours management of transport behaviour through manipulation of its consequences. This is seen by some as antagonistic to the view that information and persuasion can play strong roles in changing behaviour, and thus may help further to provoke discussion. The elaboration of the OECD’s work on EST in Chapter 2 includes some justification for using soft measures as an alternative or complement to hard measures.
Chapter 3 sets out some the key factors in car ownership and use. Chapter 4 discusses other factors, including social and individual factors, attitudes and acceptability, as they may be relevant to transport behaviour. Chapter 5 comprises a discussion of advertising in relation to car ownership and use. Chapter 6 provides an overview of some research on the effectiveness of soft measures. Chapter 7 draws some conclusions concerning the use of soft measures, and Chapter 8 provides additional discussion as to how transport behaviour can be shaped in desired directions by changing its context. Finally, Chapter 9 sets out draft recommendations for consideration by the workshop.
At several points in this paper, questions are posed for workshop participants as in the example below. These are brought together in Table 1 arranged by the session in which each question might best be considered. The workshop programme appears here as Appendix A. Question 1. What is an appropriate definition of ‘soft measures’? 5 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR Table 1. Questions posed for the workshop panellists, Sessions in which questions are to be addressed All sessions Page of this document where question is found Page 5 Page 14 Page 15 Page 19 Page 22 Page 26 Page 40 Page 40 QUESTIONS Question 1. What is an appropriate definition of ‘soft measures’? Question 2.
What maintains unsustainable transport behaviour? Session 2 Question 3. Can the strategies involving soft measures designed to reduce car use also be applied to reducing car ownership? Question 4. If increasing settlement density is an appropriate way to address some transport issues, how might soft measures be used to help achieve denser patterns of land use? Question 6. How can soft measures be used to give additional value to sustainable transport behaviour? Question 8. Is some transport behaviour—e. g. , non-habitual transport behaviour—more amenable to influence by soft measures? Question 14. To what extent are soft measures effective in changing transport behaviour? Question 15.
Can soft measures be used to facilitate the effects of ‘hard’ measures designed to make transport behaviour more sustainable? Question 5. When appropriate facilities are available, what are the best ways to use soft measures to influence mode choice in favour of public transport, walking, and cycling? Question 7. How can young adults be induced to not consider car ownership as an important goal? Question 10. To what extent is acceptance of measures a necessary or sufficient requirement for their effectiveness? Question 11. How could soft measures be used to increase the acceptance of measures that have been introduced? Question 16. How can soft measures best be used to achieve sustainable transportation? Question 18.
How can soft measures best contribute to the creation of human environments in which car ownership and use are not the norm? Question 12. How does advertising support unsustainable transport behaviour, and how could it be used to make transport behaviour more sustainable? Question 13. Are counter-advertising and denormalisation plausible strategies for reducing car ownership and use? Question 9. What causes decision-makers to underestimate public support for environmental friendly transport modes, and how could soft measures be used to correct such underestimates? Question 17. Is interest in soft measures a way of avoiding unpalatable use of hard measures? Session 3 Page 20 Page 23 Page 30 Page 30 Page 40 Page 43
Session 4 Page 33 Page 33 Page 27 Page 41 Session 5 Session 6 6 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR CHAPTER 2. THE EST VISIONS AND THEIR IMPORTANCE 2. 1. Overview of the EST project; visions and conclusions Concerned that current policy frameworks seemed unlikely to be able to move transport systems towards sustainability, OECD’s Environment Directorate initiated a project on Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST) in the mid-1990s. It aimed to give some precision to the concept of EST by defining it in terms of quantifiable, environmentally significant criteria. More important, it aimed to help determine how EST could best be attained.
At the core of the EST project were nine national case studies, although a total of 25 OECD Member and other countries were involved in different aspects of the project. The project was completed early in 2002. 8 The criteria used to characterise EST were derived from existing international goals, guidelines, and standards relevant to local, regional, and global concerns, notably land use, local noise and air quality, regional acidification and eutrophication, and tropospheric ozone and global climate change. The six EST criteria are set out in Table 2 on the next page, together with a brief indication of the derivation of each criterion in the notes below the table. 9 The central concept in the EST project was that of backcasting.
A desirable transport future (EST) was envisioned, as was a future in which ‘business as usual’ (BAU) prevailed. Working back (backcasting) from the desirable future to the present, alternative policy pathways were identified consistent with attainment of EST rather than BAU. The process is illustrated in Figure 3, which shows the three critical backcasting steps: (1) defining the environmental dimension of EST; (2) developing a vision for EST in 2030 and comparing it with likely trends; and (3) elaborating possible policy pathways, policies and strategies for achieving EST. The backcasting approach is driven by the need for attainment of specific goals (the EST criteria) within a designated time period, i. e. , by 2030.
Present policy, by contrast, is driven more by what are considered to be feasible improvements over current arrangements. The goal-driven Figure 3. The EST concept and approach high Environmental Impact BAU Policy “ Pat hwa Environmental Unsustainability ys” Policy Gap Environmental Sustainability E. S. T. low Time 7 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR driven nature of the backcasting approach helped ensure that policies and the measures used to implement them were appropriate to attainment of EST. Figure 4 on the next page portrays significant outcomes of transport activity in the 1990s and as projected for 2020 with ‘business as usual’ on the one hand, and with adoption of the EST concept and approach on the other hand. 0 In this chart, attainment of EST —and corresponding objectives for other relevant activity—is set at 100, with larger numbers representing exceedances. Table 2. Summary of criteria for Environmentally Sustainable Transport CO2 Climate change is prevented by reducing carbon dioxide emissions so that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 from transport are stabilised at or below their 1990 levels. Accordingly, total emissions of CO2 from transport should not exceed 20-50% of such emissions in 1990, a depending on specific national conditions. VOCs Damage from carcinogenic VOCs and ozone is greatly reduced by meeting WHO Air Quality Guidelines for human health and ecosystem protection.
Total emissions of transport-related VOCs should not exceed 10% of such emisb sions in 1990 (less for extremely toxic VOCs). NOx Damage from ambient NO2 and ozone levels and nitrogen deposition is greatly reduced by meeting WHO Air Quality Guidelines for human health and eco-toxicity. This implies that total emissions of NOx from transport should not exceed 10% of b such emissions in 1990. Particulates Harmful ambient air levels are avoided by reducing emissions of fine particulates (especially those less than 10 microns in diameter). Depending on local and regional conditions, this may entail a reduction of 55% to 99% of fine particulate (PM10) emissions from transport, compared with 1990 levels. Land use/Land take Land-use and infrastructure for the movement, maintenance, and storage of transport vehicles is developed in such a way that local and regional objectives for air, water, biodiversity, and ecosystem protection are met. Compared to 1990 levels, transport activity will likely entail the restoration e and expansion of green spaces in built-up areas. Noise Noise from transport no longer results in outdoor noise levels that present a health concern or serious nuisance. Depending on local and regional conditions, this may entail a reduction of transport noise to no more than a maximum of 55 dB(A) during the day and 45 dB(A) at d night and outdoors. a b c d e
The Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1996) maintains that, in order to stabilise atmospheric CO2 concentrations at near current levels, world-wide CO2 emissions would need to be reduced by 50% to 70% with further reductions thereafter (IPCC, Second Assessment Report, page xi, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 1996). However, in order to allow for increases in emissions in developing countries, OECD countries should reduce their emissions by 80% or more so that a global reduction of 50% may be attained (OECD, Environmental Criteria for Sustainable Transport, OECD Environment Directorate, Paris, France, 1996). A reduction target of 50% might be more appropriate for certain countries that benefit from a favourable (e. g. , a more environmentally friendly) modal split, as was suggested by the EST pilot study for the countries of the Central and Eastern European region.
These criteria are set in line with the WHO guidelines for human health regarding NOx, VOCs, and ozone (WHO, 1996) and the UNECE protocols under the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution for ecosystem protection regarding critical loads for nitrogen deposition and critical levels of ozone (UNECE, LRTAP Convention, 1999) WHO advises that there is no ambient level of fine particulate matter (smaller than PM10) and ultrafine particles (smaller than PM2. 5) below which health effects (including cancer) do not occur. Countries should set targets based on dose-effect considerations. The targets set here are preliminary due to the ongoing research on the health effects from ultrafine particulate matter (WHO, Air Quality Guidelines, World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1998). This criterion is based on the former WHO recommendation on noise that has been recently updated in the WHO Guidelines for Community Noise (WHO, Guidelines for Community Noise, World Health Organization, Geneva, 1999).
The quantification of the land-use criterion will require further research. 8 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR Figure 4 suggests that ‘business as usual’ will result in improvements in some areas (urban air quality, acidification, eutrophication, and levels of tropospheric ozone) but not others (land use, noise, material flow, and climate impact). But even where there will be improvements, they will usually not be sufficient to result in attainment of the respective EST criteria. The quantified EST criteria provided the formal characterisation of EST, but the project also generated visions of what EST would be like. These included the following: Figure 4.
Recent impacts, and impacts with ‘business as usual’ and with EST Acidification 400 300 200 100 0 Land use Eutrophication Noise exposure Tropos. Ozone Urban air quality Material flow Climate impact 1995 BAU 2020 EST 2020 A significant change in the type of passenger transport provided. Many passenger cars would have more fuel-efficient conventional engines, hybrid-electric engines, electric engines (e. g. , powered by fuel cells). There would be much greater use of non-motorised means for short distance trips together with supporting infrastructure. Public transport, including new forms of integrated public and individual transport such as ‘public cars’, would increasingly provide integrated mobility services.
Significantly more efficient longer-distance freight movements due to increasing load factors, better logistics, and more use of rail-based modes. Hydrogen would be used as a fuel both directly and in fuel cells. Almost all rail transport would be electric, with increased use of high speed modes, especially for freight. More efficient and less polluting inland and coastal shipping vessels would be used; hydrogen may also be used as a fuel. Long-distance air travel for business purposes would be largely obsolete, with information technology used for communication instead. Multi-modal freight logistics would be used for air cargo. Aircraft in use would be much more fuel efficient, conventional types, and rigid airships may be used for specific purposes.
Additional policies and measures in other sectors of the economy would support and accompany the shift towards more environmentally sustainable transport, while not necessarily decreasing economic and social welfare. They could include the following: Electric power for transport would be generated with much greater efficiency than at present, using a high proportion of renewable fuels. Relatively small changes in the form of settlements would have been implemented to reduce the need for movement of people and freight. Greater use of telecommunications would help avoid both passenger travel and the movement of goods. Regionalisation of production would help avoid long-distance freight movement, and there would be a greater focus on service provision. Similar visions have been generated in other exercises. 11 9 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR 2. 2.
Scale of challenges involved in achieving EST Figure 5 shows the scale of the changes in transport activity required for attainment of EST, for both passenger and freight transport. 12 Compared with BAU, there would be increases in the use of more environmentally friendly modes (public transport, rail freight) and decreases in the use of less environmentally friendly modes (aviation, cars, lorries). Overall transport activity would increase, more for the movement of freight than for the movement of people. Compared with BAU, the changes to be made for attainment of EST concerning the movement of people are these: increase in the use of public transport by 139 per cent (+3. 5 per cent annually) increase in the use of non-motorized modes by 82 per cent (+2. per cent annually) decrease in the use of cars 57 per cent (-3. 3 per cent annually) decrease in aviation activity by 85 per cent (-7. 3 per cent annually) Figure 5. Comparison of changes from 1990 to BAU and EST in 2030 Movement of People 3500 3000 Person-kilometres 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 1990 Non-motorised Compared with BAU, the changes to be made for attainment of EST concerning the movement of freight are these: increase in the use of rail freight by 151 per cent (+3. 7 per cent annually) increase in the use of waterways by 8 per cent (+0. 3 per cent annually) decrease in the use of road freight by 71 per cent (-3. 7 per cent annually) BAU 2030 EST 2030 Aviation Public transport+
Passenger cars Movement of Freight 1800 1600 1400 Tonne-kilometres 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 1990 Waterw ays Rail freight The indicated changes are large overall, although ready attainment of the indicated annual rates—based on a 25year implementation period—seems feasible except perhaps for aviation. BAU 2030 Light trucks EST 2030 Heavy trucks 10 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR 2. 3. Soft measures identified during the EST project Overall, only eight per cent of the instruments developed by the EST project teams came under the category ‘Education and hortatory’. They are listed in Table 3, organised by the intended effect of their use.
Although the number of such instruments was numerically few over all, they were accorded considerable importance by some of the teams. The difference among the teams is represented in Figure 6, which suggests that the project teams struck similar although not identical balances Table 3. Soft measures identified during the EST project, by intended effect Reduce the impacts of motorised transport activity on the global environment by specific measures Fuel-efficient driving training Provision of consumer information about CO2-efficient cars Voluntary agreements to improve environmental performance Education: Training drivers in eco-efficient driving Strict control of speeds and driving times of heavy-duty vehicles Promote use of biofuels in the public sector Voluntary
CO2 emission level standards for passenger cars Consumer information on CO2-efficient cars Reduce the impacts of motorised transport activity on the regional and local environment by specific measures Promote penetration of alternative fuels Develop a Memorandum of Understanding with vehicle manufacturers for development of a new generation of vehicles Address cold-start issue with voluntary requirement for pre-heaters Improve the environmental performance of motorised transport activity by mode shifts Mobility management for enterprises: pilot actions, then promotional programmes and incentives, then potential mandatory implementation Implementation of a nation-wide travel information system Establishment of mobility management centres: pilot actions, then potential implementation on a large scale Encourage employer sponsored trip-reduction programs Implementation of a nation-wide travel information system Minimize overall motorised transport activity by increasing occupancy or otherwise improving logistics Freight consolidation Minimize overall motorised transport activity by favouring non-motorised alternatives Implement walking school bus programs unilaterally Make land use or economic arrangements more conducive to sustainable transportation Campaigning and marketing for preference changes in housing and land use Land use: promote housing and town development Land use: promote compact urban development Other types of effect including changing attitudes, culture, ways of living, and acceptance of strong measures Raising public awareness of traffic-related environmental impacts Incorporation of environment impact and sustainable mobility into teaching materials, methods, and lessons from kindergarten to university: pilot actions, then potential implementation on a large scale Establishing a database impacts of transport on environment Public participation in transport planning: pilot action, then potential implementation on a large scale Require EST instruction in schools Implement nationwide awareness programme Recognize community “champions” Education/information (especially with respect to CO2 tradeable permits) Implement nationwide awareness programme Education and information programmes Public awareness raising for traffic-related environmental impacts Car-free day initiatives Introduction of environment impacts and sustainable mobility into teaching materials, methods, and lessons 11 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR between economic and regulatory instruments, but differed more in their use of educational and governance instruments. 13 2. 4. Barriers to attainment of EST Figure 6. Typology of principal policy instruments in the EST project CA AT IT During the course of the EST project sevFR SW eral barriers to attainment of EST were NO identified, in three categories.
Societal NL DE barriers were said to concern human SE behaviour “more from perspective of soic cietal organisation than from the view of om on ec an individual in a physical and social world”. They comprised the following: political factors, institutional barriers, regulation ongoing societal trends, urban form, methodological barriers, and professional barriers. Some of these barriers are discussed below in Section 3. 3 (settlement density) and in Section 4. 2. educational / governance 60 40 20 20 40 60 Individual barriers were said to concern “how human nature and people’s perceptions can impede changes towards sustainable practices in transport activity”.
They comprised the following: lack of awareness of the need for change, cognitive dissonance , lack of concern for future generations, fear of change, and thus resistance to change, attractiveness of present transport modes, absence of transport alternatives, resistance to collective alternatives, car ownership, and lack of adequate professional advice. Some of these barriers are discussed below in Section 3. 1 (car ownership) and in Section 4. 3. Technological barriers were said to be associated with the significant component of the effort towards attainment of EST that will have to come from improvements in technology. Some of the contributing factors are as much human factors as those contributing to the other two types of barrier—e. g. , investment in technology and resistance to the adoption of new practices—but are more logically considered with technological issues.
Technological barriers that were identified comprised the following: Four types or sources of barrier were identified in the EST project: costs and lead times for development of appropriate technology, lack of common standards, inappropriate safety requirements , and barriers associated with telecommunications. 2. 5. Conclusions from the EST project concerning implementation The significant conclusions of the EST project can be summarised as follows: EST could be attainable, although only with a concerted commitment involving many sectors of society. A wide range of strategies could be used for moving towards EST. The most important challenges lie in the acceptability of the need for EST strategies and of their component measures for moving towards EST.
Aside from considerations of acceptability, the effectiveness of the measures themselves is often not in question. Present transport practices have a formidable momentum that has deep psychological, social, and technological characteristics. Lack of relevant knowledge about human behaviour and societal organisation that could help policy-makers secure needed changes is a major barrier to attainment of EST. Three things are required. One is a better understanding of how to make the welfare of future generations relevant to present circumstances 12 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR (intergenerational equity). Another is a more appealing vision of sustainable transportation.
The third, following from the first two, is greater interest among the public generally, and transport industries in particular, in moving towards sustainable transportation. These highlighted words attest to the potential importance of soft measures, which may be required to secure commitment and acceptability, promote a vision of EST and interest in attaining it, and, perhaps above all, secure greater intergenerational equity. Several conclusions were drawn from the EST project as to the kinds of strategies that will be required. One key point was that packages of measures will be required, mostly involving wellbalanced mixes of fiscal, regulatory, and other measures, including soft measures.
Another key point was that implementation would be phased, partly to avoid the need for dramatic change (see Section 2. 2) and partly so that earlier stages can prepare the way for later stages. Soft measures were thought to be of special value during the early stages of implementation. They would be used to secure understanding and acceptance of and even commitment to the need for EST. As well, they would help prepare for the use of effective hard measures such as market-based rationing and restrictions on the use of road vehicles. The conclusions were captured in a set of ten guidelines developed to help policymakers working towards attainment of EST. They are listed in Table 4. Table 4.
The EST Guidelines 1. Develop a long-term vision of a desirable transport future that is sustainable for environment and health and provides the benefits of mobility and access. 2. Assess long-term transport trends, considering all aspects of transport, their health and environmental impacts, and the economic and social implications of continuing with ‘business as usual’. 3. Define health and environmental quality objectives based on health and environmental criteria, standards, and sustainability requirements. 4. Set quantified, sector-specific targets derived from the environmental and health quality objectives, and set target dates and milestones. 5.
Identify strategies to achieve EST and combinations of measures to ensure technological enhancement and changes in transport activity. 6. Assess the social and economic implications of the vision, and ensure that they are consistent with social and economic sustainability. 7. Construct packages of measures and instruments for reaching the milestones and targets of EST. Highlight ‘win-win’ strategies incorporating, in particular, technology policy, infrastructure investment, pricing, transport demand and traffic management, improvement of public transport, and encouragement of walking and cycling; capture synergies (e. g. , those contributing to improved road safety) and avoid counteracting effects among instruments. 8.
Develop an implementation plan that involves the well-phased application of packages of instruments capable of achieving EST taking into account local, regional, and national circumstances. Set a clear timetable and assign responsibilities for implementation. Assess whether proposed policies, plans, and programmes contribute to or counteract EST in transport and associated sectors using tools such as Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). 9. Set provisions for monitoring implementation and for public reporting on the EST strategy; use consistent, welldefined sustainable transport indicators to communicate the results; ensure follow-up action to adapt the strategy according to inputs received and new scientific evidence. 10.
Build broad support and co-operation for implementing EST; involve concerned parties, ensure their active support and commitment, and enable broad public participation; raise public awareness and provide education programmes. Ensure that all actions are consistent with global responsibility for sustainable development. 13 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR CHAPTER 3. KEY FACTORS IN THE MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE Present transport trends in the OECD Member countries that participated in the EST project are clearly unsustainable. Their trends in activity are indicated in the ‘1990’ and ‘2030 BAU’ columns in Figure 5. Anticipated trends in impacts are illustrated in Figure 4. Present transport trends in other OECD countries are also unsustainable. 4 This chapter discusses what may be the three key factors that contribute to the motorised movement of people and thus to the unsustainability of present transport trends: car ownership, economic factors, and settlement density. The next chapter concerns factors such as attitudes that may be seen as being more obviously relevant to human behaviour in transport situations and thus to the use of soft measures. However, the present chapter is equally about aspects of human behaviour. It is about the purchase and continued ownership of cars, about their use and non-use, and about settlement practices. Figure 7. External costs of transport by mode, 17 Western European countries The focus here is on car use because the central issues in the sustainable movement of people concern the use of cars. Notwithstanding improvements in nergy efficiency and emissions control relative to other modes, car use is responsible for the largest part of transport’s adverse impacts. This is exemplified in Figure 7, which shows that car use (including vans, SUVs, etc. ) was responsible for by far the largest share of external costs in western Europe in 1995 (57 per cent of the total; 48 per cent if accidents are excluded). 15 The EST project teams saw attainment of EST as requiring not only reductions in car use below expected values but also substantial reductions—approaching 50 per cent—below 1990 use levels (see Figure 5). This paper focuses on the movement of people rather than the movement of freight.
This is done partly for space reasons, partly because there are fewer good data and poorer understanding generally about freight transport, and partly because there is less certainty about the roles soft measures might play in the movement of freight than in the movement of people. 16 Question 2. What maintains unsustainable transport behaviour? 14 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR 3. 1. The importance of car ownership A key factor in the use of cars is ownership of them. In one sense this is a trivial observation; a car must be available before it is used. But the relative constancy of the relationship between ownership and use across time suggests something more profound: that cars are used because they are owned.
The constancy is illustrated in Figure 8, where it can be seen that within a country the distance travelled per car changes very little from year to year even across decades. 17 If, say, 10 per cent more cars are owned, close to 10 per cent more kilometres will be driven, and vice versa. This leads to the conclusion that car ownership is a major determinant—perhaps the strongest determinant—of car use. 18 Figure 8. Annual distance travelled per car, 13 countries, 1970-1995 Even though the relationship between ownership and use seems strong, research and policy initiatives tend to focus on how car use can be reduced, without giving much consideration to reducing ownership.
Indeed, ownership without use often appears to be a desired outcome of policy prescriptions. 19 Car use rather than car ownership is evidently the major immediate cause of transport’s unsustainability. However, the position taken here is that understanding of car use above all requires understanding of car ownership. Moreover, the most effective restraints on car use may be those that seek to reduce car ownership. 20 Thus, in what follows there is a stronger-than-usual focus on assessment of the factors involved in car ownership, as well as consideration of car use. Reviews of what contributes to car ownership usually focus on economic factors, and these are considered next. 21 Question 3.
Can the strategies involving soft measures designed to reduce car use also be applied to reducing car ownership? 15 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR 3. 2. Economic factors Car ownership in a country rises with growth in its per-capita wealth, as is illustrated in Figure 9. 22 However, straightforward comparisons among countries on the basis of wealth may not be useful because of large differences in the costs of car ownership and use. These costs are allowed for in Figure 10, which relates car ownership to travel costs by car in 52 affluent urban regions, including ownership and operating costs. 23 Cost per car trip rather than cost per kilometre serves as an indicator to allow for the different geographic sizes of the regions.
A negative correlation between ownership and cost can be noted, but the correlation is evidently not strong. 24 Figure 9. Car ownership and per-capita income, eight countries, 1970-1995 Passenger cars per 1000 residents Surprisingly little publicly available work has been done on how car purchasing changes with purchase price. One study estimated the short-term price elasticity of demand for new vehicles in the U. S. to be -1. 07, meaning that for every 10-percent increase in overall price, overall purchases of new vehicles Figure 10. Car ownership rates and user costs of car would decline by 10. 7 per cent. trips, 52 affluent urban regions, 1995 The long-term elasticity was estimated to be -0. 6, suggesting 800 relative insensitivity of demand ATLANTA to purchase price except soon 700 25 after a price increase. More DENVER recent studies have confirmed 600 that the short-term price elasticity is near 1. 00, but there appears to 500 be no new evidence one way or the other as to the longer-term 400 effect of price increases. 300 ATHENS Research has focused more on what impels purchase of one car model rather than another. A recent survey of over 30,000 owners of new vehicles in the U. S. produced a hierarchy of reasons for not purchasing particular models, shown in Table 5 on the next page. 26 200 100 0 0. 0 0. 5 1. 0 1. 5 2. 0 2. 5 3. 0
User cost per 100 car trips as a per cent of per-capita GDP Affluent Asian Canadian U. S. Australian Western European HONG KONG 16 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR Table 5. Reasons for not buying a particular model of car To the extent that the statements in Table 5 reflect effective aspects of respondents’ purchasing behaviour, it can be concluded that economic factors—Nos. 1, 2, 6, and 9 in the table—are important determinants of which car model is purchased. Thus, economic factors may strongly affect which car model is purchased, and indeed in the short term whether a car is purchased at all; but in the longer term economic factors may be relatively less important.
What may be the most discussed in terms of impacts on car use is the price of fuel. A recent review of work on the elasticities of car travel in relation to changes in fuel price concluded that the short-term elasticity is about -0. 15 and the longer-term elasticity is about -0. 30. 27 Elasticities of demand for fuel appear to be negatively larger in each case, meaning that when prices change fuel use changes more than car use. This suggests that one effect of raising fuel prices is more efficient use of fuel. The higher longer-term elasticities may reflect the purchase of more fuelefficient vehicles in response to fuel-price increases, or even foregone ownership.
The findings that car travel is relatively insensitive to fuel price, even in the longer term, are consistent with the importance of ownership as a factor in car Figure 11. Household spending on transport, use. eight countries, mid-1990s. To add to the picture of economic factors in car ownerOwnership Japan ship and use, Figure 11 shows Operation Italy Purchased data on household spending. US Proportions of total after-tax spending going to the ownerAustralia ship and operation of private Canada vehicles are shown together France with spending on purchased Germany travel (e. g. , travel by public UK transport, taxi, intercity rail 28 0 2 4 6 8 and bus, and air).
Of the 10 12 14 16 18 Percentage of total household expenditures countries for which breakdowns are shown—by car ownership, car operation (i. e. , use), and purchased transport—only in Canada was spending higher on car ownership than on car use. The generally higher spending on car use suggests there may be scope for reducing car use by increasing the costs of ownership. 17 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR 3. 3. Settlement density Figure 12 suggests that, at least among urban regions, settlement density could be an important factor in determining car ownership in that there is a strong negative correlation between the two variables. 29 However, other factors are Figure 12.
Car ownership in relation to settlement density, at play, as suggested 52 affluent urban regions, 1995 by a comparison of Rome and Berlin. 800 ATLANTA These two urban regions both have 700 settlement densities of ROME 56 persons per hec600 tare, but quite different rates of car own500 ership (655 vs. 354 cars per 1000 per400 sons). GDP per capita BARCELONA BERLIN was similar (Rome, 300 US$26,125; Berlin, US$23,462), as was 200 the cost of 100 car trips as a per cent of 100 per-capita GDP HONG KONG (Rome 1. 8 per cent; 0 Berlin 1. 7 per cent); thus, these two eco1 10 100 1,000 nomic factors would Urban density (persons per hectare of settled area) seem not to account Affluent Asian Canadian U. S.
Australian Western European for the differences in 30 car ownership. Distance travelled per car also has a strong negative correlation with settlement density, as is illustrated in Figure 13 on the next page. 31 Nevertheless, there are urban regions with similar settlement densities that differ considerably in average distance driven per car. For example, the Los Angeles region has a similar density to that of the five Canadian urban regions, but each Los Angeles car is driven almost twice as far on average. One explanation could be that the Los Angeles region is three or more times larger than any of the Canadian urban regions; thus, people on average have farther to travel.
However, this kind of explanation would not apply to the difference between Singapore and Osaka, where cars in the smaller urban region are driven much more. Also, there are instances where similar amounts are driven even though densities differ greatly, as in the case of Hong Kong in comparison with Brisbane and the other Australian urban regions. Even with these anomalies, which deserve explanation, it appears that settlement density is a potentially important determinant not only of car ownership but also of the extent to which an owned car is driven. Indeed, settlement density may be an important moderating influence on the relationship between car ownership and use, and may account for some of the national differences evident in Figure 8.
Higher densities may suppress ownership and may suppress use at a given level of ownership. Passenger cars per 1000 residents 18 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR The thrust of the foregoing is that perhaps the two key factors in the determination of transport activity are the interrelated matters of car ownership and settlement density. Thus, changes in transport behaviour may well require changes in one or the other or both of these factors, although it is clear that other factors could well play a role. The primary challenge for the present exercise may thus be that of figuring out how soft measures can help reduce car ownership or increase settlement density, or both. Figure 13.
Distance travelled per car in relation to settlement density, 52 affluent urban regions, 1995 30,000 ATLANTA Passenger car kilometres per car 25,000 LOS ANGELES 20,000 SINGAPORE 15,000 BRISBANE OSAKA HONG KONG 10,000 5,000 BARCELONA 0 1 10 100 1,000 Urban density (persons per hectare of settled area) Affluent Asian Canadian U. S. Australian Western European Question 4. If increasing settlement density is an appropriate way to address some transport issues, how might soft measures be used to help achieve denser patterns of land use? 3. 4. Transport facilities In order for particular transport activity to occur, there must be opportunity to perform the activity.
Even walking has some environmental requirements: a reasonably safe and level path and absence of barriers. Other modes more clearly require appropriate facilities, such as bicycle paths and bus services. In the discussion of car ownership, the case was made that availability of a car strongly contributes to car use. The present section concerns whether such strong determination exists in respect of other means of transport. Does, for example, availability of public transport services increase use of public transport? The issue as to whether provision of facilities induces particular transport activity has perhaps been most discussed in relation to the phenomenon of induced traffic.
Available evidence suggests both that roadway expansion can increase the overall amount of traffic and that reductions in road capacity can reduce it. 32 However, merely adding or subtracting road capacity—for example, in a remote location—will not induce or reduce traffic; an unused road to nowhere will remain an unused road to nowhere; removing it would accordingly have little impact. For traffic to be increased by additions of road capacity, other factors may have to be driving an increase in traffic that lack of road capacity was preventing. Similarly, a capacity reduction may result in reduced traffic only when the reduction constitutes a constraint on traffic. The phenomenon of 19 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR nduced traffic seems well established, but further analysis of the relevant mechanisms is required. Equally, adding public transport capacity may not in itself increase use of public transport unless there are other factors impelling an increase that lack of capacity was constraining. 33 Equally too, analysis of the mechanisms whereby public transport capacity can increase use of public transport needs further attention. Similar considerations may apply to walking and cycling. Thus, a question for the present endeavour could concern the potential roles of soft measures in ensuring that ‘other factors’ are in place that cause increases in use when opportunity for increased use is or becomes available. Question 5.
When appropriate facilities are available, what are the best ways to use soft measures to influence mode choice in favour of public transport, walking, and cycling? 20 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR CHAPTER 4. OTHER FACTORS IN TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR This chapter concerns societal and individual factors in car use and ownership, the relationships between attitudes and behaviour, and what is meant by acceptability. In spite of the topics, this chapter is no more about human behaviour than the previous chapter. Because discussion of the kind of topic addressed in this chapter is often influenced by views held about human behaviour, this matter is discussed first. 4. 1. Views about human behaviour What is it that sustains unsustainable transport behaviour?
First it may be useful to consider what sustains any human behaviour. There are almost as many views about how human behaviour is maintained and how it changes as there are people who hold the views. The views can be organised into five approaches, set out in Appendix B. Each approach likely contains some of the truth. Researchers and others concerned about human behaviour tend to prefer one or sometimes two or even three of the approaches over the others. The preference in this paper is for the fifth approach: human behaviour is mostly maintained by its consequences, which are mostly found in the milieu (environment) in which the behaviour occurs.
This approach is economical, objective, and productive of insights into what maintains behaviour and what makes it change, but there is evident merit in the other approaches. The author’s preference is stated at this point to caution readers about the possibility of bias rather than to persuade them of the merits of the fifth approach. More to the point, the approach preferred here implies that the best way to change transport behaviour may be to change the milieu or context within which it occurs. Careful examination of the relationships between the behaviour and its milieu could reveal the critical features of the milieu that sustain the behaviour, and changing these features could change the behaviour. Commuting is above all sustained by the onsequence of timely arrival at work or home (or avoidance of the consequences of untimely arrival), but mode of commuting could be sustained by a host of consequences that feature cost, privacy, stress, and many others, all interacting with parts of the long chain of behaviour that comprises a journey. One role of soft measures could be to give additional value to outcomes of desired behaviour. Taking public transport reduces pollution and congestion, but these consequences do not occur in ways that can maintain the behaviour. If colleagues praised using public transport and disapproved of car use, then taking the bus could perhaps be maintained.
Viewed in this way, a key challenge becomes that of changing the nature of some of the social chit-chat at the workplace rather than that of persuading people to take public transport. Another role of soft measures could be to give information about (to signal) the availability of outcomes. Providing information about an improved bus service would come into this category, as would information about the relative costs and comfort of public transport and the time investment required. The point being made here is that what maintains unsustainable transport behaviour is its consequences, supported by information about these consequences, and perhaps by information about the consequences of alternative behaviour.
The most economical approach to changing behaviour involves changing its consequences. Ensuring change may well require the use of hard measures, but soft measures could also have a role. 21 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR The focus here is on what it takes to produce the desired behaviour. Changing what people say about the desired behaviour may be a useful step towards getting them to perform the desired behaviour. However, what people say is not the desired behaviour and should not be confused with it. The desired behaviour involves transport activity, not talking about transport activity. Question 6. How can soft measures be used to give additional value to sustainable transport behaviour? 4. 2.
Societal factors ‘Societal factors’ refer here to aspects of society and culture that sustain car ownership and use, ranging from the pervasive influences of ‘car culture’ to the political practices that support widespread automobilisation. During Phase 3 of the EST project, such factors were discussed in terms of potential or actual barriers to attainment of EST. The project teams identified several ‘societal barriers’. One of these—urban form—has already been covered in the discussion of settlement density in Section 3. 3. (Urban form was included as a societal barrier because it fitted more comfortably there than in one of the other two categories of barrier: ‘individual barriers’ and ‘technological barriers’. ) Other noted categories of societal barrier included: Political barriers.
These were taken to include the lobbying weight of vested interests and the world outlook of decision-makers, who may be inclined to have strong personal commitments to individual transport. Also significant may be the composition of electorates in democracies, which mostly comprise people who are dependent on their cars to cope with life as they know it. 34 Institutional barriers. These included the quest for common standards, which may stifle innovation, and perverse subsidies and pricing. Methodological barriers. Here the focus was on the lack of appropriate performance indicators relevant to sustainable transport, the use of perverse indicators of well-being, and the absence of full-cost accounting procedures. 5 Extreme characterisations of societal factors can be found in the academic literature. For example, a recent review concluded that the use of cars is deeply embedded in the maintenance of global power structures, as expressed in capital accumulation, economic globalisation, and warmaking capacities. National governments, it was said, have served themselves by promoting the ‘car economy’ in four ways. They have built roads, downgraded public transport and nonmotorised transport, subsidised car use, and in some cases colluded with the automotive industry to remove competitor modes of transport to the car. 36 Discussion of such factors is challenging because of the lack of clear indication as to their effects.
Nevertheless, the implied accounts of causation of unsustainable transport activity may have some plausibility and may be useful in developing strategies involving the use of soft measures, such as ‘denormalisation’ through counter-advertising described in Chapter 5. What may be of special value is the examination of social and physical circumstances where car ownership and use are not the norm. Such places are found in the central parts of affluent regions, even in North America, where New York City is the most obvious example. 37 The lowest rate of ownership across a large affluent urban region is found in Hong Kong, where there only 22 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR 55 personal vehicles per 1000 residents. 8 It may be contrasted with the large urban region with the highest rate—Atlanta, Georgia—where there are more than 750 personal vehicles for every 1000 residents. Residential density appears to be the main contributing factor (see Section 3. 3, and especially Figure 12). There are no restrictions on car ownership in Hong Kong, although the relative costs of car ownership and use are relatively high (see Figure 10). North Americans in particular can notice the different transport culture when they arrive in Hong Kong. There are no car rental facilities at the airport, only a wide range of opportunities to use public transport, notably a fast train to the central area that is immediately across from the baggage area.
How are young people in Hong Kong acculturated to forego what seems to be a near-universal demand for car ownership? This kind of question has received too little investigation. One recent study asked undergraduate students in Hong Kong about their car-owning status and intentions. Only one per cent of respondents owned a car; only 15 per cent of their families owned a car; 92 per cent of respondents lived with their families. Only 35 per cent of respondents showed some interest in early purchase of a car (within five years), including 46 per cent of men and 27 per cent of women. The author concluded that if public transport is of a high quality and inexpensive it can suppress car ownership.
However, there appears to “quite a substantial latent demand for a car, particular among male students … [therefore] penalties to car ownership may need to be introduced to deter them further. ”39 Question 7. How can young adults be induced to not consider car ownership as an important goal? 4. 3. Individual factors ‘Individual factors’ here refer to factors that contribute to the maintenance of and to changes in the transport behaviour of individuals. The distinction from societal factors is not always clear, especially because in their actual operation societal factors are individual factors and many individual factors have a strong societal influence. Individual barriers identified in the EST project
In the EST project, several ‘individual barriers’ to attainment of EST were identified, including widespread car ownership, already discussed in Section 3. 1. Other identified individual barriers included: Lack of awareness of the need for change. The report on the EST project asserted that “for individual behaviour to change … there has to be individual awareness of the need for change. ”40 This seems to be common sense, although at least one study has raised doubts about the importance of problem awareness in changing environmentally related behaviour. 41 Problem awareness does seem to be related to the amount people drive and their use of public transport.
Car owners who achieve high scores on tests of awareness of problems of car use tended to use their cars less than other car owners and to use public transport more often. 42 But the direction of causality, if any, is not clear. The obvious potential link is that awareness affects transport behaviour. But, it is possible that level of awareness is determined by transport behaviour, i. e. , people become aware of transport problems by using public transport more. It is also possible that the association between the two variables is accidental: i. e. , neither one causes the other. Cognitive dissonance. This is a complicating factor in analysis of the importance of problem 23 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR awareness.
When people learn about the adverse consequences of using their cars, they are as likely to minimise the adverse consequences of this use as they are to use their cars less. 43 This may happen because people grow up in an environment in which consistency between what they do and what they say is prized, and because ‘denial’ of the adverse consequences may be an easier way of achieving consistency than reducing car use. Lack of concern for future generations. Contemporary ‘Western’ culture may favour immediate over longer term concerns, thereby disposing individual behaviour to be maintained more by immediate outcomes than, for example, by progress towards avoiding climate change.
In North America, a contrast is sometimes made with the ‘seven generations’ approach of aboriginal peoples. 44 Attractiveness of present transport modes. Here is what was written on this topic in one of the reports on the EST project: “The car-based life can be extraordinarily rewarding. Those who live it travel with comfort, convenience, and privacy unknown in times past even to royalty. Provision of society-wide personal transportation has been a remarkable accomplishment that is for the most part highly appreciated. The evident problems of mass motorisation—notably road congestion, land take, and habitat destruction—can appear trivial in comparison with the apparent benefits.
Modern aviation is similarly appreciated; it enables large numbers of people to traverse great distances with ease and comfort that could hardly be imagined even a century ago. Relinquishing what are now regarded as the commonplace benefits of aviation and personal vehicle ownership, however extraordinary they may have once seemed, could be considered to be as unthinkable as dispensing with the written word or other such products of human ingenuity. The only painless way of breaching this barrier may be to provide even better—and sustainable—alternatives. A special challenge in this respect lies in the many functions of the private car, which may be owned as much for its ability to carry shopping, luggage, infants’ requirements, sports equipment, and other items as to move people from place to place.
Wellmanaged local freight and delivery services could ensure that these things are transported. But, however excellent such services may be, and however well integrated with good public transport, the combination is unlikely to surpass the private car in overall convenience and general utility. ”45 Distaste for collective alternatives. As with other ‘individual barriers’, this can reflect a societal disposition, specifically that of favouring individual rather than collective solutions to challenges. It is perhaps exemplified in former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s often-quoted statement, “There is no society, only individuals and families”. 6 In some places there is outright prejudice against collective transport alternatives, as in the North American characterisation of buses as ‘loser-cruisers’. 47 ‘Psychological’ and other factors The present chapter began by noting that the factors discussed in the previous chapter—car ownership, economics, settlement density—are as to do with human behaviour as those discussed here; i. e. , transport behaviour is human behaviour and, in that psychology is the science of such behaviour, all the factors are psychological. Nevertheless, a distinction is sometimes made between ‘psychological’ and other factors in car ownership and use. One commentator said, for example, “… many people, about 30 per cent, travel not to arrive somewhere, but to escape from where they are. Almost a third, then, travel for purely psychological reasons”. 48 The basic observation here, that travel may have reinforcing attributes separate from those of the objects of travel, may be apt, but characterising one set of factors that maintain transport behaviour as ‘psychological’ and the others as not may impede useful analysis of the behaviour. 24 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR Other ways of grouping determinants of transport behaviour A different kind of distinction concerns motives for car use, which have been described as instrumentally-reasoned, on the one hand, or symbolically-affective, on the other hand. 49 The former are associated with behaving ‘rationally’, e. g. using the car because of its “flexibility, independence, availability, speed, reliability, safety, carrying capacity, and comfort”. The latter are associated with “deeper” attributes of car use, such as “privacy, status, control, power, independence, and freedom”. The authors of this distinction suggested that policy measures based on “instrumentally-reasoned research models” are not very effective, and that car advertising tends to be associated with the symbolically-affective aspects of car use. A more complex classification of determinants speaks first to external conditions, e. g. , locations of homes and work places, weather, and road conditions, on the one hand, and individual characteristics, which include attitudes, habits, income, and gender, on the other hand. 0 Second, there is a distinction between volitional and non-volitional determinants, the latter including all external and some internal conditions. Habits, gender, and economic means were noted as nonvolitional internal determinants. Third, there are proximal and distal determinants, with the latter noted as including background characteristics, lifestyles, and values. Habitual transport behaviour The paper in which this more complex classification is set out concludes that it is difficult to change people’s travel behaviour because it is largely ‘habitual’, i. e. , it is non-volitional or at least not evidently the result of a decision-making process.
That paper, like most of the literature on the topic, presents conclusions based on an analysis of responses to a questionnaire, in this case given repeatedly by telephone to a large sample of Danish ‘consumers’. Such research can assume that a person’s words on the telephone to a stranger and the person’s transport behaviour are somehow related, or at least that analysis of the former can provide insights incidents and determinants of the latter. That paper also assumes that transport behaviour, other than habitual transport behaviour, is the product of a partially autonomous decision-making device or construct located within the traveller. Habitual transport behaviour, however, was said to be the norm. At least one other author has noted the prevalence of habitual transport behaviour—“so that … minds are freed for other tasks”. 1 Another expression of the role of habit has been this: “… when habit is weak, there is a significant link between intention and behaviour. That is, when someone says they will do something they will do it. However, when habit is strong, the power of intention to predict future behaviour becomes diminished. ”52 Intention is essentially verbal behaviour that, like all verbal behaviour, is influenced by mostly social outcomes. Transport behaviour is mostly non-verbal behaviour influenced by what may be a different set of outcomes. The two may have more scope for alignment when neither is strongly reinforced. Moreover, alignment (i. e. , truthfulness or consistency) itself may be reinforced.
To go beyond this and to say that the verbal behaviour is somehow causing the transport behaviour is perhaps to overlook the features of the environment that are actually maintaining the transport behaviour. Unnecessary constructs Such classifications and constructs—whether decision-making processes, minds, attitudes or intentions—are unnecessarily complex. 53 Moreover, they may cause researchers who use them to miss the essential features of what is happening. One essential feature could be that behaviour does not change—it is described as habitual—when the consequences of behaviour continue unchanged; but, when the pattern of consequences changes, the behaviour changes to match the 25 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR ew pattern. Behaviour is expedient, adjusting to match what its surroundings provide, much as the average neck length of a species changes across generations as the height of available vegetation changes. If peers start praising quiet smoothness in a car rather than noisy power, a young owner may change his driving behaviour promptly, and perhaps even his car. His statements about what is responsible for his actions may be mostly irrelevant. Question 8. Is some transport behaviour—e. g. , non-habitual transport behaviour—more amenable to influence by soft measures? 4. 4. Attitudes and behaviour The individual factor given the most attention is attitude.
A commonly used definition of attitude in the social psychology literature is this: a tendency to evaluate an entity with some degree of favour or disfavour, ordinarily expressed in cognitive, affective, and behavioural responses. 54 Attitudes are thus essentially expressions of liking or not liking something, where the ‘something’ (entity) may be a person, a group of people, a concept, a type of food, and much else. The terms ‘attitude’ and ‘intention’ are sometimes used interchangeably, although the former should perhaps be reserved for more general statements about behaviour and the latter for statements about specific future behaviour. A common view is that changing attitudes is a necessary condition for changing transport behaviour.
This could mean that people must say they like using public transport before they actually use it more frequently. A more extreme view is that changing attitudes is a sufficient condition for changing transport behaviour. If you can induce people to say they like using public transport they will use it more. The research on attitudes and behaviour does not support either position. The most extensive review found that attitudes only sometimes predict behaviour. 55 There is a strong link between attitudes and behaviour only when specific criteria are met: the attitude has to be strongly expressed, specific to particular behaviour, and close in time to the behaviour. 6 Thus, voting intentions on the day before an election are much more likely to predict voting behaviour than attitudes toward public transport are likely to predict public transport use. 57 A particular caution concerns attitudes that are socially desirable, i. e. , expressing them is susceptible to favourable comment. Answers to questions about future behaviour related to socially desirable attitudes tend to overpredict the occurrence of the behaviour. For example, people are more likely to say they will donate to a charity than they are to donate. Similarly, questions related to socially undesirable behaviour lead to underprediction. People say they do not drink and drive, but nevertheless do drive and drive.
An interesting complication of these findings is that expressing the prediction seems to change behaviour towards the prediction. Thus, people who are asked about their intention to donate are more likely to say they will donate than to donate, but they are nevertheless more likely to donate than people who are not asked. 58 Other evidence of the unreliability of verbal behaviour comes from research on the pervasiveness of deception in everyday life. For example, a recent study that used undergraduate students as subjects—as do many such studies—produced results suggesting that lying could be prevalent in everyday conversation, especially when people are trying to appear likable or competent.
Men and women were found to lie with similar frequency, but women were more likely to lie to make the person they are speaking to feel good whereas men lied more to make themselves feel good. 59 26 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR Figure 14. Misperceptions of acceptance of environmentally friendly transport modes What decisionmakers say about citizens What citizens say about themselves What decisionmakers say about themselves What citizens say about decisionmakers Motorised modes Environmentallyfriendly modes In short, what people say is often not reliable and is mostly not a good predictor of what they will do. In spite of the uncertainty about the importance of attitudes, perceptions of attitudes may be an import factor in decision-making about transport.
Anticipation of an angry electorate may deter decisions towards attainment of sustainable transport. However, as attitudes may be unreliable so may perceptions of attitudes. The unreliability of perceptions of others’ attitudes is evident from the results of a recent survey conducted across the European Union. Decision-makers and ordinary citizens were asked whether they were more supportive of environmentally friendly transport modes (public transport, walking, bicycling) than regular motorised modes (cars, vans motorcycles), or vice versa, and also what the other group thought. Figure 14 shows that each group was strongly supportive of environmentally friendly transport modes but thought the other group was not. Question 9.
What causes decision-makers to underestimate public support for environmental friendly transport modes, and how could soft measures be used to correct such underestimates? 4. 5. Acceptability According to the EST project teams, a key issue is the acceptability of hard measures, or the acceptance of them by travellers and providers of freight services. Acceptable and unacceptable are hard to construe in behavioural terms. The key feature of unacceptability may be that the measure is ignored or resisted. Normally, such rule-breaking and protest are kept at low levels by adverse consequences, and perhaps too by lack a prospect of positive consequences. Actual 27
SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR levels depend on numerous factors, including media interest, political structure, and overall conflict level. In times of war and other emergencies, stronger measures can be applied with less protest and rule-breaking. The penalties for non-conformity may be higher, but so also may be the rewards for conforming. There could be two kinds of practical reason for securing acceptance of hard measures before they are applied. One is that popular acceptance of the measures could mean that they are more likely to be introduced, i. e. , politicians are more likely to act if they see their proposed decisions as popular.
The other is that accepted measures are less likely to be resisted and may thus be more effective in producing results. However, some measures may be considered necessary for progress towards sustainability even though they could never be popular. If their unpopularity prevents their introduction, there will no progress. Experience of the measure may be best route to acceptance of the measure. An example could be the introduction of road pricing in Oslo, Norway (the Oslo Toll Ring). This was introduced in 1990 when about 65 per cent of residents opposed it (70 per cent in the previous year). By 1997, opposition had lessened; just over 50 per cent opposed the road pricing scheme. 0 More recently the level of opposition to the scheme has increased. Also instructive is the way in which concern about high fuel prices in the UK increased dramatically in September 2000 and then fell rapidly. Protests against the high cost of diesel fuel by farmers and lorry drivers in that month blocked roads around refineries and caused 90 per cent of petrol stations to have shortages or run out. The protest was specifically against the high fuel tax regime, among the world’s most onerous, even though the 2000 increase in fuel taxes had been the lowest for eight years and the immediate cause of high prices was high crude oil prices. Moreover, armers—among the most prominent protesters—paid and pay almost no fuel tax for off-road uses and had experienced no increase. As a result of the protests, 33 per cent of respondents to the regular MORI opinion poll said fuel prices were among the most important issues, whereas previously it had not featured in this group (see Figure 15). 61 Perhaps ironically, the price of petrol—used by most poll respondents— was already declining in September 2000, while the price of diesel fuel—used by most protesters— continued to increase. The government’s only response was a small temporary cut in the tax on petrol, introduced in March 2001 when few people reported high fuel prices as being among the most important issues (see Figure 15).
The protests resulted in what was described as the governing Labour Party’s “most severe opinion poll wobble since 1992”, but the Figure 15. UK fuel prices and public opinion, 2000-2001 86 84 32 82 80 78 76 74 72 70 J M M J S N J M M J S N Petrol price (left scale) Diesel price (left scale) Opinion (right scale) 24 20 16 12 8 4 0 Months in 2000-2001 28 Percentage saying fuel prices among most important issues 28 Road fuel prices in pence/litre SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR Party was re-elected in the June 2001 election with almost no decline in support. 62 There seems little doubt that high fuel taxes in the UK were and continue to be ‘unacceptable’, in that consumers would prefer not to pay them.
Moreover, it also seems that interruption of vehicle fuel supplies by protesters against high fuel taxes can cause people to say that high fuel taxes area an important issue, at least for a short while. But the important point about what happened in the UK may be that a regime of high fuel taxes, gradually introduced by successive governments over several years, had become accepted to the point that substantial concern about it did not damage the government’s popularity, except briefly. The Oslo Toll Ring and the 2000 fuel price issue in the UK (and elsewhere in Europe) provide some support for the argument that providing experience of a measure may be the best way to help ensure acceptance of it.
To say that road pricing or high fuel prices became accepted, however, would be misleading. A majority is evidently opposed to the Oslo Toll Ring, and probably to high fuel taxes in the UK. The issue becomes that of the roles and responsibilities of decision-makers in a democracy. One researcher phrased the issue in this way: “Since the bulk of person transport is made by individuals as private consumers, and since their dual capacity as consumers and voters makes it virtually impossible to effectively force people to change their transport behavior, much more insight is needed into how people can be persuaded to accept more environment-friendly transport solutions. 63 What is meant here by ‘forcing people to change their transport behaviour’? It probably means achieving change by using hard measures, including taxes on unwanted transport behaviour and regulations that prevent unwanted behaviour. When a government uses these measures, what it is in effect doing is changing the consequences of both unwanted and wanted behaviour. Unwanted behaviour incurs higher costs and perhaps other penalties; at the same time, the consequences of wanted behaviour (e. g. , public transport) become relatively more favourable. However, use of such measures makes governments unpopular and may arouse overt and even frightening opposition to the measures.
Implementing ‘more environment-friendly solutions’ may also involve changing the consequences of behaviour, and thus the application of hard measures. The essential difference between ‘forcing people to change their behaviour’ and persuading them ‘to accept more environment-friendly transport solutions’ may be that in the latter case there is no overt opposition to the hard measures. The difference can be compared with rules that require smokers to leave a building to smoke. They are forced to leave the building, but they accept the rule, meaning they do not protest. Imposition of such a rule 30 years ago would have resulted in protest. What has changed? First, there would be less support for protest now.
Second, and perhaps more important, smoking inside the building would have adverse social consequences as well as whatever might be the formal outcome of breaking the no-smoking rule. The no-smoking rule’s strongest effect may be its creation of an environment in which building occupants are likely to punish smoking with unfavourable comments. Why do the building occupants punish smoking? They are mostly non-smokers and find proximity to tobacco smoke to be unpleasant or believe it to be unhealthful, or both. Thirty years ago, objectors to tobacco were fewer, and suffered in silence and without their licence to complain, i. e. , the no-smoking rule. 29 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR What are the implications for transport?
The first could be that quite severe measures can be implemented if the implementation is gradual and if politicians are prepared to wait for any opposition to the measures subside. The second is that the social support may be more important for the effective continuation of the measures rather than for their introduction. Thus, the issue becomes not that of ensuring acceptance of measures before they are introduced but of facilitating the process whereby acceptance of a measure increases with experience of it. In other words, governments should act—prudently, of course—and then seek to ensure that the actions become more accepted. Question 10.
To what extent is acceptance of measures a necessary or sufficient requirement for their effectiveness? Question 11. How could soft measures be used to increase the acceptance of measures that have been introduced? 30 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR CHAPTER 5. ROLES OF ADVERTISING In what way does advertising a product determine the use of the product? The debate has been fought mostly over tobacco use. The tobacco industry argues that the main purpose and effect of advertising is to maintain brand loyalty and achieve brand switching. Public health agencies argue that tobacco advertising influences the overall consumption of tobacco, in part by helping recruit new smokers. 4 A recent, relatively impartial review suggested that “there is a significant empirical literature that finds little or no effect of tobacco advertising on smoking”. However, the report suggested too “that a comprehensive set of tobacco advertising bans can reduce consumption”. 65 Another area of controversy is alcohol use, with the present position being captured well in the following quote, “The large volume of research on the advertising of alcohol beverages has produced inconclusive results. There are not sufficient grounds for claiming that advertising either does or does not affect alcohol consumption. … virtually all the research on the impact of advertising suffers from certain key limitations.
First, since advertising is only one of many factors that may influence alcohol consumption, even if it did have an impact its influence would likely be small compared with other factors such as price and disposable income. … Second, advertising is usually targeted at particular groups, whereas the research on its effects is not. Thus the impact of advertising on youth or other target groups might fail to appear in the research findings. Finally, research has looked only at the very short-term impacts of advertising. It is possible that the most important consequences of advertising are cumulative effects that could be detected only by using long-term research designs. ” 66 As do tobacco manufacturers, manufacturers of alcoholic beverages claim that the main purpose and effect of advertising is to maintain brand loyalty and achieve brand switching.
As with tobacco products, there is empirical support for the claim that advertising affects only which beverages are sold not how much alcohol is consumed. 67 Much less research has been done on advertising’s roles in stimulating car ownership and sprawl. Indeed, not one readily available source on these topics could be identified. Had the research been done, a review could well produce conclusions similar to those concerning alcohol use: its overall impact would be found to be small or negligible, its impact on target audiences could be larger, and its long-term effects would be unknown. The research could nevertheless show that advertising can have a strong effect on which car models are purchased, or which homes. Cars are among the most heavily advertised of products.
For example, General Motors, the largest manufacturer, became the leading advertiser in the U. S. in 1997, replacing Proctor & Gamble, which has been the leader for many years. In the first half of 2002, General Motors was still the leader, with Ford and DaimlerChrysler in fifth and sixth places. 68 However, as a percentage of sales value, expenditure on automobile advertising ranks relatively low; at less than two per cent it far behind the U. S. leaders in this respect, which are over-the-counter drugs (about 20 per cent) and perfumes and cosmetics (about 15 per cent). 69 The U. S. accounts for just under half of all advertising expenditures worldwide, about US$200 billion out of a total of about US$418 billion in 1998.
Just under half of advertising expenditures in the U. S. involve media advertising (television, radio, newspapers, and magazines); of this, spending by the car manufacturers and dealers comprised about 15 per cent of the total. 70 31 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR Expenditures on car advertising as a proportion of sales volume have risen substantially over the last three decades. For example, advertising in the U. S. by the three major U. S. manufacturers rose from 0. 5 to 1. 4 per cent of sales over the period 1970-1994. Actual advertising expenditures grew eightfold, while the dollar value of overall sales grew threefold, both in real terms. 1 On the face of it, the large increase in advertising could have driven the increase in sales, but the opposite may have been equally possible; advertising expenditures may be as much a result of high overall sales levels as a cause of them. Causal relationships, if any, are hard to discern from the available data. Advertising that might encourage sprawl (e. g. , for new homes on ‘greenfield’ sites) appears to be negligible compared with advertising by the automotive sector. Even though there is uncertainty as to the extent of the contribution of advertising to car ownership and use, there are suggestions in the literature that counter-advertising could result in reductions in ownership and use.
Counter-advertising appears to have had some effectiveness in reducing use of tobacco and alcohol products. 72 There is controversy in Canada as to whether counter-advertising in respect of tobacco is more effective if it is polite rather than forceful. Interested organizations in Canada claim the government’s antismoking advertising is too “lame and tame”. They have urged a change in strategy: “drop the preachiness and go into full attack mode against cigarette makers”. The government is part way into a five-year, C$190-million media campaign to reduce tobacco-related disease and death. It has been urged to adopt the “tobacco industry denormalisation” strategies of the U. S. states of California, Florida, and Massachusetts. 3 Meanwhile, a tobacco industry executive in Canada has suggested that it may be appropriate to “denormalise” the fast-food, alcohol, gambling, and automotive industries. 74 According to a Government of Canada document, denormalisation of smoking includes: Deglamorizing the use of tobacco products; Combatting myths about tobacco products (for example, that light and mild products are safer or can help you quit); Drawing attention to the size and impact of tobacco industry advertising budgets, and the nature of their promotional activities. Drawing attention to the role of other industries and organizations in supporting the promotion and sale of tobacco. 5 California, Florida, and Massachusetts have introduced aggressive media campaigns as part of comprehensive programmes designed to reduce the incidence of smoking, particularly among young people. A recent thorough assessment of the effectiveness of these programmes, and those of the states of Arizona and Oregon, concluded that they had produced declines in percapita cigarette consumption and the prevalence of smoking in adults and youths, and that the anti-smoking media campaigns were the central and most critical components of the programmes. 76 Thus, there seems more certainty, for smoking at least, that advertising may be more effective in reducing the incidence of targetted behaviour (counter-advertising) than in increasing he incidence (regular advertising). Applied to transport, this could mean that counter-advertising designed to reduce car use could be more effective than regular advertising designed to increase the use of public transport or other modes. 32 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR Question 12. How does advertising support unsustainable transport behaviour, and how could it be used to make transport behaviour more sustainable? Question 13. Are counter-advertising and denormalisation plausible strategies for reducing car ownership and use? 33 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR CHAPTER 6. QUICK REVIEW OF SOME RESEARCH ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SOFT MEASURES 6. 1.
Some negative assessments A new transport journal was launched in 1998, the sixth of a family of journals with the title Transportation Research. The new journal has the sub-title Part F: Psychology and Behavior. Its opening editorial surveyed the field of traffic psychology and behaviour, including work on public information campaigns. This section began with the word, “Despite their obvious popularity among practitioners, there is very little evidence that public information campaigns are effective. ”77 The kind of information campaigns of primary interest to readers of this journal may be those that reduce the incidence of accidents, improve driving skills in the elderly, and generally increase the amount of car driving.
Thus, the rather negative conclusion in the editorial may not apply with such force to sustainability issues, where the challenge is often that of reducing the amount of driving. Moreover, the overview highlighted the success of “teaching programmes that … proved very effective in installing safe road crossing behaviour” in young children, raising the hope that such programmes could be developed that would help promote the use of environmentally benevolent forms of transport. A recent review of the impact of traveller information systems for the UK Department of Transport stress the general lack of evidence of an impact. However, the review also noted “significant measurable impacts” of information services on Ile-de-France motorways, including mode shifts as well as changed routes and departure times.
The review noted the inadequacy of stated preference research techniques, arguing for “intervention in real life”. Such intervention could involve direct provision of information to selected individuals, with tracking of outcomes. It could also involve building of a prototype information provision system and assessing its impact. 78 Part of the Government of Canada’s Climate Change Process has concerned evaluation of the potential for action resulting from public outreach. The panel concerned with this matter concluded that “a variety of studies have established that enhancing knowledge and creating supportive attitudes often have little or no impact on behaviour. The failure of informationintensive campaigns to foster behaviour change is due to an underestimation of the difficulty of changing behaviour”. 79 The panel proposed use of a process known as ‘community-based social marketing’. It is described here Section 6. 3. 6. 2. Some more positive assessments INPHORMM (Information and Publicity Helping the Objective of Reducing Motorised Mobility) was a European Commission-funded project that sought to investigate “how investigating how transport information and publicity campaigns can influence people’s awareness, attitudes, and travel behaviour—and encourage cycling, walking, and use of public transport”. 80 The work included examination of more than 30 case studies from Europe, the U. S. A. , and Australia.
Here are some of the results of the review: The primary objective of the campaigns was to achieve modal shift in favour of alternatives to the car. 34 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR The second objectives of the campaigns included environmental, economic, health, social, and community-development objectives as well as improving public relations, creating a better corporate image, and “preparing the public for traffic restraint measures or explaining the introduction of new legislation or measures to encourage a reduction in car use”. The has been a trend over time towards more focused campaigns targeting key settings such as schools, businesses, and defined geographic areas, and even towards individualised campaigns targeting households or individual travellers.
Another trend has been to move from a focus on the problems of traffic growth to positive messages presenting solutions, providing practical advice, and associating reduced car use with enhanced ways of living. The monitoring and evaluation of information and publicity/marketing campaigns is in its infancy. Nevertheless, there were examples in the case studies of several outcomes of campaigns, including the following: • Changes in politicians’ views of the need for sustainable transport policies and targets. • Introduction of cycling, walking, and integrated transport strategies. • Increased acceptance by businesses of their role in promoting alternatives to the car. • Increased media coverage and positive reporting of programmes to reduce car use. Increased levels of cycling, walking, and specific public transport services. The conclusions of the INPHORMM project included the following: Public awareness of the problems caused by motorised mobility and the creation of an ‘environmentally-friendly transport climate’ are prerequisites for widespread sustained behaviour change. Complementary coercive measures may also be required. Changing cultural norms is a long-term process. Another recent review assessed the impact of the whole range of local transport policy instruments, as applied in the UK, in terms of their impacts on transport supply and demand and on environmental and other factors. 81 A section of the review concerned soft measures.
It assessed three types of intervention: (i) company transport plans are packages of measures designed to cause a shift away from car use for the journey to work; (ii) travel awareness plans concern all journeys but may be implemented via the workplace; and (iii) school travel plans concern the journey to school. The assessment found that quantifying the demand effects of the three types of intervention is difficult. Nevertheless, it was said that there have been positive results from each type, although details of changes in transport behaviour were given only for several company transport plans. In development of the preferred strategy for enhancement of transport between north west England the West Midlands, the UK Government Office for he West Midlands evaluated the likely impact of several soft measures in early 2002 and concluded the following: e-commerce, internet shopping, car clubs, improved interchanges, land use policies, local sourcing and new technology would have negligible short term effects on travel activity; school travel plans and promotion of walking and cycling would have small effects; teleworking; videoconferencing; company travel plans; public transport fares, marketing ticketing initiatives; and bus quality partnerships would have larger effects; 35 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR all soft measures could have a maximum impact of reducing traffic levels by just over four per cent during peak hours and by just over one per cent over the day, although these may well be over estimates. 2 The OECD held a workshop in January 2001 with the title “Information and consumer decisionmaking for sustainable consumption” as part of its Programme on Sustainable Consumption. The workshop concluded the following: Information can be a powerful tool for promoting more sustainable household consumption. However, it is often hard to target and its impact is unpredictable and difficult to measure. There is little information available on the cost-effectiveness of information-based instruments for helping households reduce their environmental impacts. 83 The TAPESTRY project—subtitled “Campaign Solutions for Transport—is a major three-year exercise that began in November 2000 and is being conducted under the auspices of the European Commission.
Its overall aim is “to increase knowledge and understanding of how to develop effective communication programmes to support sustainable transport policies in Europe”. The main product will be the development, conduct, and assessment of “16 travel awareness, communication, education and publicity case study campaigns, based on a combination of best practice and local needs across Europe”. 84 The second deliverable of the TAPESTRY project was a “State-of-the-Art Review” conducted “to provide a common understanding to all TAPESTRY partners about behavioural and attitudinal concepts, the factors affecting them and the relationships between theory and practice”.
The conclusions of the review, other than those concerning monitoring and assessment, are summarised in Table 6 on the next page. 85 Table 6 is a mixture of summaries of research conclusions and prescriptions for information campaigns. The research basis for many of the statements made is thin at best. Indeed, it is hard to provide solid support for any of the statements. In respect of the essential matters of monitoring and assessment, the TAPESTRY review concluded that “In the majority of campaigns identified so far, monitoring and assessment activities are missing, or at best inadequate. ” The review urged that “Monitoring and assessment need to be built into the project design from its inception, and to be carried out to the highest possible scientific standards. The review proposed the following guidelines: define the objectives of the campaign derive more specific and realistic targets establish an assessment plan for the campaign, including what will be measured, why, when, and by whom define likely impacts from a more extensive list of all potential impacts develop indicators to match the list of likely impacts identify data sources and collection methods for each of the indicators estimate likely impacts (changes) consider the use of a control group or region collect “before” measurements in intervention area and control if used run the campaign and monitor its progress e. g. , press coverage, take up of publicity material 36 SOFT MEASURES AND TRANSPORT BEHAVIOUR Table 6. Summary of conclusions from the TAPESTRY review
On the link between attitudes and behaviour Consider whether you are using just one or combinThe barriers that people perceive when considering ing different communications strategies (“power”, changing mode are among the most important pre“reinforcing“, and “persuasive”) . dictors of behaviour, therefore, campaigns aiming On defining target groups to change behaviour have to address how these Prior research is essential to define target groups barriers can be overcome. effectively. Habit is also a very strong determinant in predicting Target groups for site based campaigns focus on all behaviour. Campaigns to change behaviour should those who travel to that