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Title: An investigation into the ability of transport initiatives to change commuter travel mode choices
Authors: Lin, Yi-Chun
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Private vehicle use poses a major challenge as a main contributor to climate change. A framework (Avoid/Reduce, Shift, Improve or ASI) has been developed which suggests that a broad approach is required when reducing the effect of transport on climate change. Review of the literature suggests that policy has tended to focus on the shift element of the ASI framework. This raises questions as to whether people would like to shift to public transport, and whether transport policymakers focusing on the shift element of the ASI framework is an effective approach. Further questions also remain with regard to whether the shift element is being adequately implemented. Indeed, internationally governments have tended to take a narrow approach to the shift policy which has focused on pull (incentive) initiatives but neglected push initiatives (disincentives). This thesis critically evaluates the feasibility of this focus on pull initiatives. This is explored through a case study of New Taipei City, Taiwan, where the government is providing major investment in pull initiatives, particularly Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) infrastructure, to get people to shift to public transport. Adopting a mixed method research approach, commuter surveys and qualitative semi-structured interviews were undertaken to explore both the commuters’ perspective and the opinions of key actors and critical observers of the policies implemented. Car and motorcycle users’ main reasons for using private vehicles are comprised of their dependency on using private vehicles, work-related purposes (e.g. job responsibilities, and position), and socio-economic factors. This makes changing their mode of transport difficult, when focusing on a narrow set of pull initiatives. Furthermore, there has been a lack of integration of initiatives such as the MRT infrastructure improvements with new bus services and cycleways, so their pull policies could have been stronger. Consequently, transport officials’ efforts to change commuter travel behaviour are less effective than intended. A combination of pull and push initiatives may be a more balanced approach to changing people’s behaviour in relation to their trip choice, and thus implementing sustainable transport interventions. However, there is likely to be a lack of political will for push initiatives. Consistent with previous findings in the academic literature, there is a need to take a broader approach to tackling the effects of transport on climate change. This thesis has provided further evidence to support this argument and questions why policy continues not to adequately reflect the need for a more holistic approach.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

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