The guiding hand of Infrastructure -Nudging bicyclists towards safer and more efficient behaviour
The climate crisis cannot be solved without a massive reduction in the number of cars on the road. While electrification, automation, and shared mobility shows promise, there is a strong case for a modal shift towards active mobility such as walking and cycling. Especially, there are many benefits for increasing cycling as a mode of transport. Not only is cycling a very resource efficient travel mode, but it also brings about health benefits; directly through physical exercise and indirectly through better air quality and less noise. However, as long as cars still are a part of the modal mix (automated or not), the space allocated for active transport will be limited in cities. The aim of the project is therefor to find solutions to be able to increase the number of cyclists on the existing infrastructure in a way that is efficient and safe, while also giving a superior user experience. To achieve this, we need to support behavioural change into a more coherent way of cycling that is easier to predict and co-exist within.
One potential way to affect people’s behaviour is nudging, i.e. small changes in the choice architecture that gently pushes people towards a certain behaviour while not in any way hindering other choices (Thaler & Sunstein, 2008). Previous research by us, in the EU project MeBeSafe, showed that nudging had potential to affect bicyclists’ speed. However, there are more aspects of cycling behaviour that can be nudged to create a cycling situation that is safe, efficient, and perceived as positive. Examples include placement of the bicycle in the lane, where cyclists look in intersections, but also route choices. The goal is to create a positive cycling experience, that encourages more people to start cycling, not the least people who are today excluded from cycling because they perceive it as unsafe.
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- AoA Transport Funds (Academic, Sweden)