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Understanding the requirements and barriers for modal shift (WSP)

1. Outline

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) commissioned WSP to conduct research into the types of interventions that can be successful in achieving modal shift from private cars to alternative modes and the barriers and opportunities for these to be effective in influencing people’s travel choices. This included a review of evidence on past and current interventions, a survey of public attitudes towards modal shift and focus groups with drivers who would be willing to switch modes for some journeys.

2. Key messages

The outputs of the research resulted in six main recommendations to the Committee. Two of these are overarching conclusions relating to best practices that should be followed when establishing any modal shift intervention:

  • Achieving meaningful modal shift requires a combination of measures aiming to reduce car use and measures that offer people alternatives, supported by effective communication and engagement activities.
  • Interventions should be location-specific and led by local government bodies.

The remaining four are more specific in nature, highlighting the potential for effective interventions in particular areas:

  • Changing our relationship with parking and how urban space is best used.
  • Reframing the narrative around the comparison in cost between car use and alternative travel modes.
  • Focusing interventions on delivering incremental changes.
  • Creating a more interconnected system of alternative travel options.