Wednesday, November 15, 2023
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Give Your Car (and Wallet) a Break: Behavioral Science to Shift Commuting Behavior in Kosovo
Session ID
A7 - Lightning: Transportation
Cecilia Shang

Could behavioral interventions change ingrained habits, like the way we commute to work? In Kosovo’s capital Pristina, as in many other cities, poor air quality is a serious health and environmental problem. We collaborated with the UNDP Kosovo and the municipality of Pristina to design and test a behavioral intervention aimed at reducing car commutes in favor of alternative means of transportation. The intervention consisted of several behaviorally-designed elements united by the slogan "Give your car (and wallet) a break!” Participants received a 30-day free bus pass, which was delivered to their workplace. In addition, we employed emails sent from the Mayor’s office and physical materials (e.g., a desk calendar) to highlight the private costs of driving and the environmental benefits of car-free commutes, along with positive social norms about using alternative means of transportation. We also created a web-based form to prompt participants to plan for car-free commutes. Using a small-scale randomized controlled trial (N=377), we tested the impact of the intervention among all the employees of the Municipality of Pristina over the course of two weeks. According to the results, the intervention decreased commuting to work by car by 1 day per week and increased the average frequency of walking to work by 0.9 days per week. Additionally, the intervention increased the proportion of employees who reported satisfying or relaxing commutes by 85% and 102%, respectively. The behavioral intervention was successful in changing how people commuted to work. However, in cities like Pristina that lack the necessary infrastructure for biking or walking and have poor public transportation systems, such interventions should be considered complementary to larger systemic changes. [Speaker note: We are open to presenting this in another format (e.g., Individual speaker lightning session, or as a Poster]

Supporting Document 1