November 04 2014

Insight from two years of research and trials in cities across the UK has been used to develop new techniques to encourage drivers to make the switch to the bus, helping to reduce congestion and carbon emissions.

Collaborating with more than twenty bus operators, local authorities, passenger transport executives, charities and community groups, the Greener Journeys ‘Behaviour Change Lab’ has developed and tested methods through a series of projects in cities across the UK aimed at encouraging drivers to take the bus.

Trials included targeting drivers when they are most likely to be frustrated with driving – such as when trying to find parking space, sitting in traffic or paying for petrol – and encouraging them to try using the bus with a free ticket.

The experiments, which created effective ‘switch tactics’, found that:

  • It is possible to accurately target non-bus users and particularly car drivers to make the switch: 51% of those using a free bus ticket in Sheffield said they would otherwise have driven that day
  • The use of free tickets changes behaviour: over half (55%) of infrequent bus users made more trips in the weeks after their trial trip
  • Using well briefed street teams achieves scale and accurate targeting of car drivers: redemption rates for tickets were up to 15% with only 30% being existing regular bus users
  • Working with community groups can also achieve accurate targeting: 59% of those engaged with trial tickets through one group in Manchester were car drivers
  • Learning about the high cost of driving is effective in deterring young drivers: over one fifth (21%) of young people who completed an online tool to determine the likely cost of driving said they could ‘do better things with the money’

View the full report here