Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Insights from behavioural economics into transport planning and design

Yesterday, Richard Thaler was awarded the 2017 Prize in Economic Sciences "for his contributions to behavioural economics". In case you're interested on the topic, Erel Avineri has published a paper a few years ago where he discusses some of the insights that research in behavioural sciences can bring into the planning and design of transport systems to make them safer, sustainable and more efficient.

Avineri, E. (2012). On the use and potential of behavioural economics from the perspective of transport and climate change. Journal of Transport Geography, 24, 512-521.

It can be argued that the main thinking in transport planning and policy making stem from neoclassical economics in which individuals are largely assumed to make rational, consistent, and efficient choices, and apply cognitive processes of decision making that maximise their economic utility. Research in behavioural sciences indicates that individuals’ choices in a wide range of contexts deviate from the predictions of the rational man paradigm inspired the research agenda in the field of travel behaviour. New concepts and practices of government aim to apply some behavioural economics insights in the design of behavioural change initiatives and measures, an approach recently advocated in the US and the UK. This paper provides a brief review on the use and potential of behavioural economics from the perspective of transport and climate change, in two main contexts: travel demand modelling and design of behaviour change measures. The discussion of limitations and knowledge gaps associated with the implementation of behavioural economics to a travel behaviour context might contribute to the debate and help in defining research agenda in this area.

1 comment:

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