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Changing a habit before it’s too late

Author: CIVITAS Support
Posted on: Tuesday, December 12, 2006 - 15:22
Malmö , SMILE

Within CIVITAS SMILE the City of Malmö has tried a new way of raising the awareness of travel habits and showing the sustainable transport alternatives to people who have recently moved to Malmö. The idea behind the pilot project in Malmö was to educate the new inhabitants to the sustainable transport alternatives before they had a chance to create their new transportation habits. “The results have been astonishing, almost 750 people within the target group wanted to take part in an individual transport counselling,”, says Helene Östberg project manager at City of Malmö.

About 1500 households received a personal letter about two weeks after they had arrived in their new home town. The letter described how they as new inhabitants could transport sustainably with bus, train, bike or by foot in Malmö and that they would be contacted again. Two weeks after the letter the City of Malmö tried to reach everyone by phone who had received the letter and had a short and informal chat about their everyday transportations and if there were any possibilities to switch car trips to bus or bike. Over 50 percent of the target group were reached. Finally they were sent a package of information relating to their personal transportation needs. For example a bicycle map over Malmö or a personal timetable for the local bus.The evaluation of the pilot project has been overwhelmingly positive, about 95 percent of the target group wanted and accepted the transport counselling via phone and almost as many found it very positive and wanted more information. One conclusion was that many of the new inhabitants of Malmö already have quite sustainable travel habits and needed encouragement rather than information, but of those who were using their car on an everyday basis as much as 41 percent said that the counselling had changed their way of thinking about travelling! About 15 percent of the everyday car users said that they have changed some of their most common travel patterns. City of Malmö finds the pilot project very successful and wants to develop the concept further. Therefore economic support has been applied for at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.(Photo: Mats Persson)

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