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Behavioural Science in Transport


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This free-to-attend seminar will introduce behavioural science and insights, indicating the huge scope for applying them in transport. The seminar will be useful to system designers, transport planners, local and national government officials, and anyone with an interest in transport, especially from a people perspective.

Date and Time

05 November 2018 - 09:30-17:00


London, United Kingdom - icon_popup  (See map)


Organised by the Automotive & Road Transport Systems TPN. Contact Ashley Rowe at ARowe@theiet.org or on +44 (0)1438 765537 for more information.

About this event

The seminar will introduce behavioural science and insights, indicating the huge scope for applying them in transport. It will explain how they have been applied in real situations, using a people-centred approach, showing how technological advances will change the way we travel.

Topics to be addressed include:

  • Results from behavioural insight trials, including how these insights and people-centred approaches are being embedded at DfT.
  • Gamification and active travel.
  • Behaviourally-informed interventions at Highways England
  • Cyberhygiene and human issues in cybersecurity.

A list of the speakers and bio's (please note this opens as a word document).


09:30  Registration and refreshments       


Welcome and introduction

Dr John Walker, IET ARTS TPN, ITS(UK) Road User Charging Interest Group,  Transportation Research  Group, University of Southampton


Keynote talk: “Using behavioural science to improve the design and delivery of transport initiatives”

Professor Sarah Sharples, University of Nottingham.

We are in a period where there is potential for rapid innovation in the way that we design and deliver transport and travel. From autonomous vehicles to real time information about train running, to proactive maintenance of aircraft, significant progress has been made to technically enable future solutions for transport. However, we still encounter significant challenges in influencing behaviour change, and leading widescale implementation of transport innovations. I will discuss why these challenges arise, and how further consideration of a systems perspective and human behaviours can help us more rapidly and effectively design and deliver transport initiatives.


“Social Research and Behaviour Change at Highways England”

Deirdre O'Reilly, Head of Social Research and Behaviour Change, Highways England


“The Individual, Social, Material (ISM) model and its successful application in transport initiatives”

Andrew Darnton, Independent Researcher, AD Research & Analysis Ltd

The ISM tool was published by the Scottish Government in 2013, and is their current model of choice for developing behaviour change interventions. The model offers a multi-disciplinary and co-productive approach to analysing behaviours and designing interventions. Andrew Darnton, the model’s architect, will introduce the tool and its theoretical underpinnings, and share the insights its use has revealed in the context of diverse travel and transport challenges including: switching to electric vehicles, mobile phone driving, and commuting by bike. 


Refreshments and networking


Young People’s Travel Behaviour: What’s changed and why?”

Kiron Chatterjee, University of the West of England, Bristol

Young adults in Great Britain and other countries are driving less now than young adults did in the early 1990s. In this presentation I present the findings of a study of young people’s travel behaviour undertaken for the Department for Transport which sought to better understand why young people are driving less than previous generations and identify the future implications of this. I explain how there are multiple, inter-connected reasons for the changes in transport use that have been observed. Most of these lie outside transport. They include changes in the socio-economic, living and family situations of young people, as well as changes in the importance attached to driving in the digital age. The decline in car use seems likely to persist - those who start to drive later tend to drive less when they do start. This has profound implications for transport planning and for policies in transport and other sectors. One key implication is that higher priority needs to be given to ensuring that young people have affordable alternatives to the car for getting to education, employment and social destinations. 


“Learning to drive messaging trial: Improving road safety with behavioural insights”

Catherine Mottram, Principal Research Officer in DfT’s Road Licencing, Insurance and Safety team (RULIS). Department for Transport

A presentation of the findings from a randomised control trial, which tested different simple and low cost interventions to encourage learners to gain more on road experience before taking their test, which can potentially reduce their risk of being involved in a collision once they pass their test.   New drivers (or novices) have higher accident rates compared to other drivers, hence they are an important group to consider in road safety interventions.  Evidence suggests that limited driving experience as a learner before taking the practical driving test is a key contributory factor to novice drivers’ heightened risk.


"Behavioural Science - a Human Factors Engineering approach at the Transportation Research Group"

Dr Kirsten Revell and Dr Vicky Banks, Transportation Research Group, University of Southampton

The Human Factors Engineering Group within the Transportation Research Group in Southampton University engage in multiple research methods in a range of transport domains including Aviation, Road Vehicles, Cycling, Maritime and Rail. This presentation will give an overview of how we embrace behavioral science as part of as systems approach to understanding human’s interaction with transport technology.


Lunch and networking


Introduction to the afternoon session

Professor Alan Stevens, IET ARTS TPN and IET Transport Policy Panel, University of Southampton


“Combining objective and subjective measures to aid clinician decision making regarding fitness-to-drive"

Professor Samantha Jamson, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds


“MaaS evolution: through the eyes of the (prospective) user”

Glenn Lyons, Mott MacDonald Professor of Future Mobility, UWE Bristol

The rapid emergence of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) into the transport sector’s lexicon has brought with it an air of expectation that suggests a future mobility revolution. This presentation focusses on the user perspective and offers a deepening of socio-technical thinking about MaaS and its prospects. An examination of what is understood to date about MaaS highlights the concept of MaaS as a ‘mobility system beyond the private car’ and the new centrality of a ‘mobility operator’ layer in that system. The contention is put forward that MaaS is neither new or revolutionary but is rather an evolutionary continuation in terms of transport integration. Emerging from an era of unimodal travel information systems becoming multimodal and then integrated multimodal information services, MaaS is about adding seamless booking, payment and ticketing to the integration offer.

A taxonomy of MaaS analogous to that for levels of vehicle automation is put forward. This taxonomy, designed around the user perspective, concerns operational integration (as well as informational and transactional integration). Drawing upon a synthesis of ‘pre-MaaS’ insights concerning choicemaking for travel and the role of information, the presentation provides a MaaS behavioural schema regarding choicemaking and the adoption of MaaS. It will conclude by highlighting a number of considerations from a user perspective that could play a significant part in determining the future effectiveness of ‘latest generation’ MaaS offerings.


Using Behavioural Segmentation for Diagnosing and Tackling Cybersecurity Risk and Vulnerability in Transport

Professor Ganna Pogrebna, University of Birmingham and the Alan Turing Institute

This talk will demonstrate how behavioural science techniques could be used to understand whether and to what extent different individuals are vulnerable to various transport cybersecurity risks.

By splitting the population into behavioural rather than demographics-based types, we show how susceptibility to become a victim of transport cybercrime varies across those identified types.

The talk will discuss policy implications of this approach for understanding, communicating, and alleviating cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities associated with transport.


Refreshments and networking


Using social marketing to influence the unreachable: “Wheels, skills and thrills”

Dr Ashley Pressley, Senior Researcher, Behavioural Change, Transport Research Laboratory


Panel discussion


Closing remarks


 Event closes


Reasons to attend

The seminar will be useful to system designers, transport planners, local and national government officials, and anyone with an interest in transport, especially from a people perspective.

Behavioural psychology is becoming more influential in many areas. This is demonstrated by Richard Thaler, one of the main proponents of Behavioural Psychology, who won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Economics, based on his work in this area.

Continuing Professional Development

CPD logo declaring this event can contribute 5 hours towards your Continuing Professional Development

This event can contribute towards your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as part of the IET's CPD monitoring scheme.

Additional information

Partner event with:

ITS (UK) logo       

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