Digital Agenda for Europe
A Europe 2020 Initiative

How can we motivate people to adopt more sustainable travel behaviour?

Article
SUNSET provides a smart approach to our mobility challenges using ICT and Smartphone technology to serve people with tailored feedback on their actual and personal travel behaviour.

--- Posted by Marcel Bijlsma, project coordinator FP7 project SUNSET

Traffic jams are one of my personal frustrations. And I’m not alone as 75% of all Europeans live in urban regions, where traffic jams have become a fact of life. European crisis or not. But how can we achieve good accessibility of the places where I want to go and at the same time keep our environment safe and green? Investments in infrastructure and alternative modalities are expensive, time-consuming and irreversible.

Couldn’t we think of an alternative, more flexible and cost-effective approach? I think so. Travel is in the end all about human behaviour. Couldn’t we focus on travellers instead of infrastructure and seduce people in a positive way to make better travel decisions that provide a win-win between personal and collective goals? Reward people for good behaviour instead of punishing them for bad behaviour?

SUNSET provides a smart approach to our mobility challenges using ICT and Smartphone technology to serve people with tailored feedback on their actual and personal travel behaviour.

But the concept goes further. If you have better insights in your own mobility, you could easily share this with family, friends or colleagues using social media. Here is where for me the fun starts. Challenge my friends to be greener in my travels then them. Start a group with my direct colleagues showing other departments that we travel more effective and cheap (I’m Dutch after all!) or e.g. healthy.

That is not only fun, but also in the direct interest of my employer, so maybe he could start rewarding us for our effective behaviour. Rewards for my travel behaviour or other positive incentives could also come from the municipality where I live in, e.g. when |I avoid certain traffic jams or use public transport. It could even create a new market for incentive providers, which provide me with the right alternative options tailored to my personal objectives and travel goals in exchange for my travel data. Of course, only when and where I want it, because I love my privacy.

It would make travelling a more positive and social experience. And that is in the benefit for all in any way you slice it.

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