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Listen to the right people/keep learning

I work in transportation, and transportation is just about getting from A to B, right? Well, no, but it is often the way that it's analyzed. I recently did some focus groups with people in England and Scotland from the ages of 21 to 76.

In all group discussions, people talked about either enjoying walking to stores and chatting with neighbours, or wanting to be able to do that. People in general like to see, meet, and chat with others, but the current system, based on car travel, seems to have eliminated a great deal of that.

People aren't always concerned with moving faster. They do appreciate social support and interaction, but that voice is often lost in transport analysis. By talking with everyday people, finding out what frustrates them, puts them at danger, or is missing in their lives, we're trying to put people back into transport evaluation.

A great thing about more socialable travel is it's generally more environmentally and economically sustainable. Gas prices high? Travel with friends, or even better pump those legs and earn yourself a treat with the calories you burn and the money you save. And pat yourself on the back for reducing danger on the street and reducing your impact on the environment.

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Comment by Turil Cronburg on April 19, 2010 at 1:12pm
Indeed. It's all about options! People hate to not have options, no matter what the subject. And asking them which options are most important to them is crucial in helping them find a good solution to meeting their needs. Too often leaders just assume what people's needs are, and end up making really bad decisions that serve no one's needs.
Comment by Jean Frankly on April 19, 2010 at 3:00pm
Thanks for sharing your research.

I wonder if there are new initiatives around simple ideas like carpooling/ridesharing? The article below mentions employers offering priority parking to carpoolers and reduced toll payments. I don't know if HOV (high-occupancy vehicle lanes) are common, but you still need smart ways to motivate people to use them.



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