About this Research Topic
Walking and cycling have the potential to replace up to 50% of all car trips, especially those short ones – up to 5 km. This is not only valid in densely inhabited but also in rural areas. Walking and cycling in combination with public transport has even larger potential.
For some years now, there have been attempts here and there to reduce car use, keep cars from historic centres, and slow down car traffic with environmental and safety improvement goals. All these changes make use of active modes – such as walking or cycling - more attractive, as attractiveness is closely related to safety due to increased uptake. Still, the increase in the number of walkers and cyclists is slow, and so is the replacement of short car trips.
But what lies behind this? Behind behaviour, or more specifically behind traffic mode choice, lie the attitudes and habits of citizens, nourished by societal and technical preconditions (e.g. unsafe, uncomfortable and non-attractive environment) that often make active mobility, and thus the replacement of short car trips difficult. However, a change of habits, i.e. a change of behaviour, is necessary if we want a change in mode use, from less sustainable to more sustainable ones. A psychological, behaviour-oriented approach is the key aspect of success, as psychology is dealing with human behaviour and with “what lies behind behaviour”. Traffic and mobility are the outcomes of human behaviour.
To achieve attractiveness of walking and other sustainable traffic modes, concepts and guidelines for the safe inclusion of vulnerable road users (VRUs) in the traffic system are needed, especially in the urban environment. However, we add that safety and security are far from being the only, or even the most important ingredients for the road users themselves. Other factors that have a stronger impact on their mode choice are:
• health aspects,
• easiness of use and others.
These elements should be reflected by societal preconditions (executive provisions, jurisdiction, media reporting, city and housing planning, etc.), the infrastructure, how walkers are “treated” by motorised road users, but also by prevailing attitudes: e.g., what is the social status of walkers?
To our knowledge, the marketing concept has never been applied in a holistic way in the area of mode-choice.
The scope of this Research Topic is to present procedures that make more citizens in urban areas use sustainable modes of transport instead of the private car and to demonstrate that, at the same time, measures that enhance sustainable modes have optimum safety effects.
Papers should demonstrate the effectiveness of the different procedures by looking at:
• how walking or other sustainable traffic modes are enhanced by it,
• what is the resulting significant safety effect,
• vulnerable road users that use alternate sustainable modes of transport,
• all members of the population that use sustainable modes of transport (e.g. gender issues)
• infrastructure preconditions supporting sustainable traffic modes
• communication and marketing strategies, and alike.
Procedures – in analogy with the social marketing concept – should make use of psychological rules that can be generalised and thus be applied in different contexts.
Keywords: Sustainable transportation, active transport, micromobility, psychology, public transport, human behaviour
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