Building bridges to modal shift needs to tackle issues broadly and systematically, overcoming all the problems faced by each group. If any barrier remains, then behaviour change will not be achieved. Understanding the factors likely to motivate behaviour change is of crucial importance and opportunities lie in research findings that show that:
- Even the most committed car travellers had a future vision of good transport much more dominated by public transport and car free areas than at present.
- Although environmental motives for behavioural change are generally understood the social and economic benefits of using public transport are not and the latter have been shown to be more effective in motivating behaviour change.
- Travel awareness messages emphasising the virtuous circle of delivering efficient transport achieving positive economic and social development could potentially have a powerful impact.
To achieve behaviour change requires people to accept more responsibility for current problems and that, through changing their own behaviour, they can be ‘part of the solution’.
People appreciate the perceived level of control that they have when travelling by car and take “ownership” of the problems they experience. For public transport to gain a greater mode share it also needs to be seen as a more integral part of the community. Rail already achieves this quite well, being perceived as a fixed asset with a high degree of stability. New ways need to be found to change perceptions of bus services. From the public perspective, the only fixed assets are the bus stops and even these are often poorly maintained and do not provide good information on services. By changing relatively small things quickly, providers can help to build trust that they are listening to the needs of users and potential users.
Future management mechanisms for public transport need to better reflect this growing agenda so that people can have a greater pride and ownership of their local transport services.