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To work by car? No thanks!

Imagine everyone cycles to work and you're the only one taking the car. (c) Simon Kneebone

There are well developed public transport systems and cycle paths in the Alpine Rhine valley, yet the majority of commuters – who number up to 50,000 a day – travel to work by car. A CIPRA project is looking for solutions in this international quadrangle.

Four countries meet in the Alpine Rhine Valley: Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria and Germany. Both the economy and the population are growing, with this growth leading to a steady increase in commuter movements. Congested roads, noise and pollutant emissions are the order of the day. As part of the project “Cross Border Mobility in the Alpine Region – CBM” in this focal region, a workshop addressed the question of why do the overwhelming majority of people use their own cars, despite the low cost of public transport and journeys to work of less than ten kilometres?

Four experts from various fields such as health research, psychology and behavioural economics worked together with transport companies, political staff in the administration and enterprises in order to develop strategies for behavioural change. According to sports psychologist Ralf Brand from the University of Potsdam, our attention has to be grabbed at the so-called “Decision Prompts”, “exactly at the point where we make decisions”. An example of such decision aids would be a sticker on the mirror of a public toilet with the inscription “Please wash your hands” or a sign on an elevator door stating that it is healthier to take the stairs.

The results of the workshop will be used in the Alpine Rhine Valley with local participants, in the daily work of the authorities and in enterprises in all four countries. The publication "Changing views - Changing thoughts - Changing behaviour" deals with the possibilities of change in our transport behaviour and serves as an aid for enterprises and local authorities.

The project is supported by the European Parliament through the Alpine Region Preparatory Action Fund (ARPAF).

More information:
www.cipra.org/en/cipra/international/projects/current/cross-border-mobility