Memorandum by Steer Davies Gleave (TYP
SECURING THE 10-YEAR TRANSPORT PLAN: THE
NEED FOR A BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE STRATEGY
The 10 Year Transport Plan (10YP), published
in July 2000, set out an ambitious programme of investment. Yet
three incidents, and their ramifications, have made the 10YP targets
appear unachievable: the fuel tax protests, the Hatfield rail
crash and putting Railtrack into administration. As a result of
these events, not only is it unlikely that the fuel-price escalator
will be re-introduced but the planned rail improvements will now
take much longer to secure.
If the aspirations of the 10YP are to be secured,
other policies need to be adopted and there is a growing recognition
that interventions to secure behavioural change will be vital.
Enabling people to contemplate and effect different travel habits
might help to control the forecast growth in car use over the
next decade and perhaps reduce it.
Behavioural change methods are needed to complement
the 10YPto encourage public transport use, increase the
proportion of trips made by walking and cycling etc. Many methods
have been adopted, albeit on a relatively small scale to date.
Could these methods actually help in traffic
growth control if employed on a national basis, or even in achieving
demand reduction? As yet we do not know, but it is already clear
they can bring social, environmental and economic improvements.
This submission puts forward suggestions as
to how behavioural change measures might usefully be employed
in the context of implementing the 10YP. In that this is a relatively
new area of policy there is only a limited amount of empirical
evidence of the effects of the different interventions. Indeed
there are some ideas in this paper that have not, as far as we
are aware, ever been put forward before.
The key issues to be explored include:
How behaviour change could help address
current and future transport problems.
How behaviour change may be enabled.
The nature and scope of interventions
to bring behaviour change about.
behaviour takes timethe planning period is 10 yearshow
should a strategy reflect this.
Practical issues such as funding
and organisation associated with the strategy.
2. HOW BEHAVIOUR
The nature of the problem
There are many different problems that the 10YP
aims to address but fundamentally they focus on the fact that
too many motorised vehicles are in use on the roads at the same
timesuch that congestion results. Not only is this an inefficient
way to proceed but the situation is getting worse. Only part of
the population currently owns or has access to a car yet a significant
proportion aspires to ownership or access. Once a car is available
to people their mobility increases significantly. If the costs
of car ownership and use continue to decline in real terms, then
traffic will continue to increase.
Hence the problem faced is both financial and
social in nature. Politicians face several important questions:
Should we accept the nature of the problem and
the inevitably of it worsening?
If we accept that the problem exists then the
likelihood is that where there is spare capacity today congestion
will get worseie in the off peak periods and the less busy
areas of the network. Congestion and delay and lack of capacity
will prevent it getting much worse at the busier times and in
the busier parts of the area.
The justification for action (as opposed to
acceptance of the problem) is that to allow congestion to determine
the availability of travel opportunities would be an abrogation
of responsibility by transport planners and politicians. Surely
this cannot be allowed to happenthe corollary is that we
must therefore either build more capacity into our transport system
or manage demand to prevent congestion.
What are the other possible solutions?
Should we try to invest in sufficient capacity
(across the whole of the transport systemnot just in roads
and motorways but also trains, coaches and buses etc) to meet
existing and forecast demand everywhere and at all times or should
we seek to manage demand in some way?
Traditionally we have said yes to the former
approachthat we would build new infrastructure and manage
existing facilities more effectively. We are busy investing hugely
in public transport systems at present, trying to catch up on
a lack of investment of the last several decades. But is this
sufficientcan we build our way out of the problem? The
answer seems likely to be no.
Increasingly, experts doubt the benefits of
capacity enhancement: the consequences of such developments are
deemed too severe or damaging to contemplate, or the changes cost
too much, either in financial or environmental terms. More and
more we are looking to demand management as an alternativepreferring
to contemplate living within our means, trying to secure sustainable
What are the social impacts of the problem if
we try to resolve it through demand management measures, given
that it exists and we must deal with it?
Car ownership is closely correlated with age,
and wealth. Similarly there is a close correlation between the
availability of a car and the number and length of trips made.
Those people outside the owning/availability of car for use categories
are more likely to be those who are older and or poorer than those
Demand management policies are often characterised
as "stick" or push measuresthey aim to bring
about a condition in which less traffic demand occurs such that
more efficient operation of the road network results. There are
several means of intervention traditionally employed:
Economic intervention through charging
eg workplace or road user/congestion charging;
Road space re-allocationrationalising
road space use eg bus/cycle lanes and gates, access only for different
classes of vehicles etc;
Management of traffic over wider
areasthrough signing strategies, dynamic signing, speed
So, if we are to address the problem through
managing the allocation of scarce resources (use of the roads),
are we merely to use the price mechanismie if you can afford
to pay increased charges then you can use the roadssurely
not? Such action appears inequitablethis is why the matter
is so politically sensitive. Charging will indeed force behavioural
change but at what cost in social terms.
It is desirable therefore to find more acceptable
ways of encouraging behavioural change. Such ways should accommodate
car ownership (assuming it can be garaged or parked satisfactorily
when not in use), but seek to influence vehicle use. They might
also include extensive improvements to alternative forms of travel
including public transport, car clubs, walking and cycling etc
as outlined in the 10YP.
Does the problem take on a new guise if we accept
that in some circumstance it will be necessary to manage demand
and that charging must not be the only form of rationing use?
If the above arguments are accepted then there
is a social equity issue to be considered. We need to find alternative
ways to reduce traffic demand by means other than simply charging
or preventing use of road-space.
Demand management can also come about by persuasionrather
than the "stick". Work with employer travel plans, specific
marketing campaigns and neighbourhood educational exercises already
proves that people are willing to change their current travel
behaviour given good reason to do so. The evidence suggests that
people do not realise the true cost of ownership and use of private
cars and that the alternatives can become more attractive to them,
even if only for some trips, not only for reasons of saving cost
but also, often for social and health reasons too.
We therefore need to find reasons for people
with cars to reduce their use (and perhaps increase their use
of alternative modes as desired by the 10YP): we need to influence
people's travel behaviour, or to encourage behavioural change.
In this way road-space would be freed up for other use, such as
Promoting behavioural change requires "interventions".
These include measures/projects that force change, for example
congestion charging, car parking controls, ramp metering as well
as measures that simply encourage behavioural change such as safer
routes to school projects, travel plans etc.
Behavioural change interventions do not need
to be compulsory or forced; ie participation in a workplace travel
plan is usually voluntary. In developing a behavioural change
strategy we need to concentrate on transferring messages. We know
that people are prepared to change their travel behaviour under
When they understand HOW they can change:
When they have real choice.
When they have knowledge to exercise
When they realise they GAIN personal benefits
Time, or money, or health.
The messages therefore need to concentrate on
providing people with information about how they can change, and
secondly illustrating the benefits that the change will bring
to them. The most effective way of transferring messages (as in
any advertising campaign) is to identify the target groups for
each message. A behavioural change strategy is necessary to support
the opportunities afforded by the 10YP that focuses on selected
One of the most effective ways of targeting
groups for travel behavioural change s to identify key "life
stages" when people are forced to make a new decision about
how they will travel to a certain destination. Examples of these
life stages are:
(1) Beginning secondary school;
(2) Transferring to Sixth Form/FE college
or Higher education;
(3) Starting a first job;
(5) Transferring to a new job or to a new
worksite during your working life; and
(6) Childrenwhether being born into
the family or leaving home.
For each of these groups we need to consider
the measures that we should employ to change behaviour for that
target group, and the process by which we would ensure the message
was translated. The 10 Year Plan, being a 10 year strategy, affords
us the opportunity to influence the behaviour of core target groups
in the early years, which could have the effect of targeting much
of the population over 20 years.
Life State 1: Beginning at Secondary School
For a long time it has been recognised that
if we can raise awareness and change the behaviour of children,
then in the future they will travel in a more sustainable way.
The journey to secondary school is for many students the first
trip they will make alone, and importantly at an age when parents
will allow them to travel independently.
Introduce a school curriculum unit
that specifically aims to raise awareness and change behaviour:
for all students in their first year of secondary school.
Research likely mode of travel to
school prior to students starting at the school. Provide public
transport information to all those not eligible for free travel
(increasing numbers are in this group).
Safer Routes to School: ensure all
schools receive safe routes treatments.
In the first year of the 10YP all students aged
11 should participate in this. At the end of the plan they will
be 20, and each child aged 11 during the 10 years could have participated.
Life State 2: Transferring to Sixth Form/FE College
or Higher Education
The next key life stage is the transfer to college.
It is a key time for when young people purchase their first car.
The strategy should aim to work with young people, mainly aged
16-19, who are making this decision whilst they are still in their
final year of secondary education.
Project to highlight the costs of
running a car: to be incorporated in sixth form studies across
all relevant education establishments.
Higher education establishments to
introduce a limit or ban on students bringing a car to college/university.
Life Stage 3: Starting a first job
Travel habits are most often formed from routine.
It is far more difficult to ask a car driver to consider switching
to public transport (or another alternative) for a journey they
currently undertake, than to ask someone who does not yet make
that journey to consider alternatives.
Workplaces to have an effective Travel
Plan (the results of which should be monitored externally)to
incorporate an induction process where new staff learn the alternative
modes available to travel to the site.
Personalised Journey Planners for
new staff to provide the necessary details (eg timetables, fares,
routes) for them to comfortably try a mode other than car.
Tele-working options for new employees
so that they do not necessarily have to travel into work each
day of the week.
Life Stage 4: Moving Home
Moving home is the key time when people review
all of their current travel arrangements. Moving house is often
associated with a new school, a new workplace, a new supermarket
etc. For example, people are able to make decisions not just about
how to get to the supermarket, but which one they should go to.
Travel Blending, a process designed
to enable individuals and households to review their travel needs
and receive customised suggestions for change, to be offered to
all new home owners/tenants.
Green Prescriptions: local GPs to
be asked to provide all new patients with a Green Prescription,
advising them on the activities, including walking and cycling,
that they can undertake to help stay healthy (and which have transport
Local Travel Information Booklets
(products/services/activities): to be distributed by estate agents
to all people viewing property. Booklets would need to be updated
regularly and could also be available through key centres in the
study area, for example libraries, or the Internet.
Life Stage 5: Transferring to a new job or new
place of work during working life
When people move to a new workplace they should
again be targeted to consider reviewing their travel needs, including
whether it is appropriate for them to move closer to work.
Personalised Journey Planners.
Relocation allowances policy.
Life Stage 6: Children (whether being born into
the family or leaving home)
Children affect the travel activity of the household.
People will often have to review their transport options available
when a child is born. Similarly when children are old enough to
drive, do we consider buying an additional car for their use (or
help them with the purchase), and when they leave home, do we
still need two cars or can we downsize to one?
These life stages, and the assignment of different
projects, include a number of behavioural change interventions
that involve encouragement. It does not include those that are
forced or require changes to infrastructure that will of course
affect all users of the facility. Such measures include: car parking
controls; congestion charging; ramp metering; inter-urban tolling;
variable speed limits; and high occupancy vehicle lanes.
A 10 YEAR
The use of life stages allows a strategy to
be developed to supplement the 10 Year Plan that centres on targeting
people but there are several other issues to be taken into account.
The use of a targeted approach is important. It is possible to
put forward initiatives that could be relevant to the whole population
but this risks a lack of focus and a waste of resources. It is
important to target any behavioural change initiative on those
areas most likely to be effective.
Temporal considerations are also important.
It was only at the end of the 80's that we began to see health
and quality of life issues emerging as desirable objectives. What
will be the prevailing view by 2011 or even 2021?
Behavioural change initiatives should be designed
so that they supplement the 10 Year Plan. Subsequently other interventions
could be proposed allowing longer lead times for behaviour change
initiatives to be planned and carried out in sympathy with and
beyond the 10 Year Plan delivery timescales.
4. PROCESS FOR
Many behavioural change initiatives are only
in their infancyexperience will bring more opportunities
and the environment for encouraging behaviour change will also
improve with time, as the change itself becomes more commonly
accepted. In order to deliver the measures and projects that will
facilitate change, we need a process for delivering each of the
measures and projects to support the 10 Year Plana behavioural
change strategy. It is important to remember that the 10 Year
Plan is a 10-year strategy and that encouraging behavioural change
must be an important part of delivering the plan.