The importance of local road authorities in climate change awareness programmes


Howarth, Candice, Waterson, Ben and McDonald, Mike (2011) The importance of local road authorities in climate change awareness programmes. In, 43rd Annual Conference of the Universities' Transport Study Group (UTSG), Milton Keynes, GB, 05 - 07 Jan 2011.

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Description/Abstract

Climate awareness programmes aim to inform the public of simple steps that can be made to reduce the environmental impacts of personal travel. However they fail to acknowledge that travel decisions are made at the individual level and that tailored strategies would be more effective at targeting distinct behavioural patterns. Statistics show that unsustainable travel behaviour and global greenhouse gas emissions are growing, and due to the perceived indispensable nature of personal travel, shifts to more sustainable modes remain a challenge. This paper aims to determine how local road authorities could update existing climate change awareness programmes to significantly reduce unsustainable travel.
Results from postal questionnaires and focus groups in Hampshire identified travel behaviour characteristics and attitudinal traits which determined the extent to which voluntary travel behaviour changes are possible. Three groups were identified: Sustainably Aspiring Motorised Travellers (43.9%) were environmentally-focused, felt morally responsible and obligated to change their travel behaviour yet they travel principally by car. Sustainably Aspiring Active Travellers (29.8%) were characterised by sustainable attitudes and marked active travelling (i.e. by non-motorised modes). Conversely Environmentally Apathetic Motorised Travellers (26.3%) expressed little concern about their own personal behaviour and saw no point in changing it; this was highlighted by their heavy motorised travelling patterns. These results highlight the existence of three different types of individuals based on a combination of attitudinal and behavioural traits; an important consideration not currently identified in the implementation of climate change awareness programmes.
These groups are related to different perceptions of the barriers to behaviour change which are dependent implicitly on perceived personal and social gains and losses. In order to overcome these perceived behavioural barriers and encourage the use of sustainable travel modes within cities therefore, climate change awareness programmes promoting travel behaviour change will likely only be successful when they can be targeted and tailored to specific groupings and crucially conveyed within the direct context that individual travellers experience. Climate change awareness programmes can then be an extremely useful tool to increase sustainable travel behaviour across cities and this paper demonstrates how local road authorities play an important role as part of such programmes.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
Divisions: Faculty of Engineering and the Environment > Civil, Maritime and Environmental Engineering and Science > Transportation Research Group
ePrint ID: 207797
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2012 14:22
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 19:49
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/207797

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