Identification and promotion of attitudes related to pro-environmental travel behaviour
Abstract: A reduction of the negative environmental impact caused by urban traffic will to a considerable extent depend on behavioural change. Assuming that attitudes partly guide behaviour, the general aim of the thesis was to increase the understanding of the underlying attitudes of daily travel behaviour and how attitudes related to pro-environmental choice of transport can be promoted. Two questionnaire surveys among 422 residents of Lund in the south of Sweden and 122 local politicians and civil servants revealed that three attitudes, environmental concern, hazard/efficacy perception and car affection, were related to travel behaviour and/or acceptance of traffic restrictions, whereas factual knowledge had a subordinate role. A computerised gaming simulation, Traffic Jam, was created as a tool to promote these attitudes among children and adolescents and a questionnaire with three sub-scales, environmental concern, hazard perception and car affection, was developed in order to evaluate the outcome. In a quasi-experimental study including 288 children and adolescents it was found that the gaming simulation reduced the tendency of adolescents to become less concerned about the environment and perceive traffic as less hazardous. Among the children no significant effect on environmental concern was found, and in fact hazard perception decreased. In neither age group did the gaming simulation reduce affection for the private car or increase factual environmental knowledge. It is concluded that parallel to planning for pro-environmental alternatives and restrictions for the private car, educational strategies focusing on basic attitudes should be applied. One successful strategy may be to strengthen environmental concern and underline the idea of the car as hazardous and at the same time playing down the affection for the private car. In the early teens environmental concern and hazard perception may be promoted by using a computerised gaming simulation with visible and auditory feedback of an emotional kind. Among children other methods need to be considered.
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