Behaviour change – methodology wars

Nothing like a good fight between models, is there? Well, not really. Everybody is being super-polite, as described in this article here. But underlying the politeness there is an important point: how much effort is it worth putting in to trying to persuade people to change their behaviour? I like the advocates of behaviour change more, but I’m sceptical about the long term benefits. I see how hard it is to change behaviour, and how it’s even harder to sustain those benefits; in the absence of consistent labour-intensive nudging behaviour tends to slip back to the norm and the habitual. And it’s funny how it transfers the onus on to those least able to have an impact, and takes responsibility away from industry and government, who have so much more influence.

Social networking and travel behaviour

A study into whether social networks can help change travel behaviour. A bit underwhelming really…interviews with two developers, a focus group, and an online survey with 141 users. And inconclusive results: “…They seem likely to increase awareness of the impact of travel behaviours and of more sustainable alternatives. This may not lead to a direct change in travel behaviours, but it potentially impacts on attitudes and values that could change travel behaviours in the longer term.”

Curiously, this paper appears to suggest that people with more members in their social network travel more.

Bill Ford at Mobile World Congress 2012

The closing keynote on day one of MWC. An address to the great and good of the mobile industry, described here, in which he says a surprising number of sensible things – like connected cars should be about “making journeys more efficient by providing alternative transportation options if congestion is unavoidable” and in the future pedestrian, bicycle, private car and commercial and public transportation traffic will be “woven together into a single mobile network to save time, conserve resources, lower emissions and improve safety”.

He used the opportunity to flag up Ford’s Blueprint for Mobility initiative (curiously, none of the many posts about this have any link to the contents of the initiative, and I can’t find any description of what it contains anywhere). And he used it to launch a new model of car. Which is what it’s all about really. If you believe The Guardian, making a new car costs as much in terms of carbon emissions as driving it.

Report of a workshop on intelligent transportation in Dubai

Organised by Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne (EPFL). Press release here. Emphasis on efficiency and reducing congestion rather than sustainability – often but not always the same thing, of course. On the other hand, an explicit focus on ICT. Lots of interesting snippets and names.

Interesting too, that for the kinds of people taking part, ensuring inter-operability and data sharing between different applications and silos necessarily means ‘centralisation’ of the data; one minute the whole open source, open data, mash-up thing seems to be the common sense of the age, and the next you run into this kind of thinking.

Smarter transport competition winners by Geovation

Geovation, an initiative of Ordnance Survey that might be subtitled ‘better living through Geography’, held a competition with the subject “How can we improve transport in Britain?“. The winners (and other entrants), some of which are really great, are described here.

The cycle map (logo above) is one of the ideas.

I’d say these were worth returning to see how they pan out.