The Role of Behavioral Economics and Social Nudges in Sustainable Travel Behavior

21 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2017

See all articles by William Riggs

William Riggs

University of San Francisco - School of Management; California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo; San Jose State University

Date Written: March 22, 2017

Abstract

Increasingly city planners, policymakers and academics have recognized the important role behavior plays in travel decisions. A large body of work now recognizes modal choice as a suite of options that may be tied to habit but also that fluctuate based on built environment factors, personal preferences and situational dynamics. Literature also now indicates that humans may irrational decisions based on the apparent certainty of a plan of travel or overly optimistic approach to their travel decisions. This paper explores the literature on travel, behavioral economics, mode substitution behavior and financial versus social norms. It discusses the results from three behavioral experiments that indicate the power that social nudges have in framing sustainable travel behavior. This has policy implications for how planners and policymakers approach sustainable travel options, incentives and programs aimed at reducing emissions and increasing physical activity.

Keywords: travel behavior, economics, social norms, availability bias

JEL Classification: D01, R40

Suggested Citation

Riggs, William, The Role of Behavioral Economics and Social Nudges in Sustainable Travel Behavior (March 22, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2939404 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2939404

William Riggs (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco - School of Management ( email )

San Francisco, CA 94117
United States

California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo ( email )

San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.williamriggs.com

San Jose State University ( email )

San Jose, CA 95192-0066
United States

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