One of the most powerful things most organisations can do to slow climate change is to reduce commuting emissions. Yet, encouraging commuters to change to more sustainable modes of transport is challenging. Although commuters understand the benefits of sustainable travel, creating a new habit isn’t easy. Beliefs about sustainable transport can discourage commuters from trying sustainable travel options.
As a Master of Health Psychology student, my (Georgia van Vuuren) background is in human behaviour and behaviour change. I was excited to see how I could apply my psychology insights to help commuters build new sustainable travel habits.
I’ve been working with a multi-disciplinary team on a project to incentivise sustainable travel, funded by the Waka Kotahi Innovation Fund. The project aims to develop a minimum viable product (MVP) for a commuter management platform to put commuters in control of their travel. The MVP will choose the best option for commuters’ needs and create a personalised travel plan. Additionally, the MVP will enable employers to incentivise their employees to change commuter behaviour, log their trips and track progress towards their goals. The project will help commuters reduce their carbon emissions and improve their physical and mental well-being by increasing active travel and reducing time spent stressed in traffic!
I have been impressed to see how my background in Health Psychology has complemented the transport industry. Over the past two months, I’ve researched, analysed commuter data, and shared my expertise to inform the development of an effective tool. Applying my knowledge of behaviour change has been incredibly rewarding. It is incredible to contribute to the transformation of research into a product that can help others make meaningful changes in their lives.
Georgia van Vuuren, Abley Summer Intern – Sustainability
Project funded by a Callaghan Innovation Research & Development Experience Grant.