Using the six principles of persuasion to promote travel behaviour change: Findings of a TravelSmart pilot test

Rita Seethaler, Geoff Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Policies aiming to increase the sustainability in urban transport often face the problem of overcoming unsustainable behavior patterns that are principally centered on the car and largely dominated by routine-based mode choices. Social psychology offers a series of persuasion techniques that are able to strengthen the impact of community based Travel Behavior Change programs such as the voluntary TravelSmart programs recently conducted in some of Melbourne's inner suburbs. This paper presents results of an experiment that has applied six particular persuasion techniques as part of a community-based TravelSmart campaign. In a pilot test of 160 households, combinations of persuasion elements were tested in eight different treatment groups while controlling for a number of socio-demographic variables. Although not statistically significant at a 95% confidence level because of limited sample size, the results indicate an increase in participation when persuasion strategies were integrated into the TravelSmart recruitment process. Modelling the intervention up-take as a function of socio-demographic variables indicates the problem of linguistic barriers associated with a multi-cultural urban population. In contrast, bicycle availability and current use of public transit both have a positive impact on TravelSmart participation. Overall, the results indicate the need to explore an extension of the persuasion principles from their use in the recruitment process to at all other implementation stages of voluntary Travel Behaviour Change programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-106
Number of pages13
JournalRoad and Transport Research
Issue number2 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes

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