Nudging Sustainable Travel

Advances in behavioral science have begun to provide a new toolkit of theories, models, and empirical methods for designing transportation programs. We fuse them with the latest data technology and analytics to achieve a specific purpose: promoting sustainable travel behavior. We develop the methods of understanding user heterogeneity, segmenting users, and predicting individual travel sequences; propose a framework for generating, implementing, and evaluating different interventions; and evaluate and design real world programs such as pre-peak MTR discount in Hong Kong, bike to work in Vancouver, subway map redesign in D.C. Subway, fare subsidies for low-income transit riders in Boston, and incentivizing car pooling at MIT. 

Understanding the Usage of Stationless Bike Sharing in Singapore, Shen, Yu, Zhang Xiaohu, and Zhao Jinhua , Working paper, (2017)
Redesigning Subway Map to Mitigate Bottleneck Congestion: An Experiment in Washington DC Using Mechanical Turk, Guo, Zhan, Zhao Jinhua, Whong Chris, Mishra Prachee, and Wyman Lance , Transportation Research Part A, (Submitted)

This paper explores the possibility of using subway maps as a planning tool to influence passengers’ route choices in order to mitigate bottleneck congestion. Specifically, it tests whether extending an overcrowded subway line on the Washington DC subway map would switch passengers to other underutilized lines. The experiment was conducted through the Mechanical Turk, a crowdsourcing platform, with 3,056 participants, producing 21,240 route choice decisions on the official and six more

Demand Management in Public Transportation: A Framework and Application, Halvorsen, Anne, Koutsopoulos Haris, and Zhao Jinhua , Working paper, (2017)

Transportation demand management (TDM), long used to reduce car traffic, receives increasing attention as means to ease congestion in overcrowded public transit systems. A more structured approach to transit-specific TDM can help agencies find better combinations of demand management and infrastructure investments to satisfy customer need. This paper develops a framework for public transportation demand management (PTDM) including problem identification and formulating program goals, program more

Reducing Subway Crowding: Analysis of an Off-peak Discount Experiment in Hong Kong, Halvorsen, Anne, Koutsopoulos Haris, and Zhao Jinhua , Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C., (2016)

Increases in ridership are outpacing capacity expansions in a number of transit systems. By shifting their focus to demand management, agencies can instead influence how customers use the system, getting more out of the capacity they already have. This paper uses Hong Kong's MTR system as a case study to explore the effects of crowding-reduction strategies as well as methods to use automatically collected fare data to support these measures. MTR introduced a pre-peak discount in September more

Improving Transit Demand Management with Smart Card Data: General Framework and Applications, Halvorsen, Anne , Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Volume Master of Science in Transportation, Cambridge, MA, (2015)

Increases in ridership are outpacing capacity expansions in a number of transit systems. By shifting their focus to demand management, agencies can instead influence how cus- tomers use the system, getting more out of the capacity they already have. However, while demand management is well researched for personal vehicle use, its applications for public transportation are still emerging. This thesis explores the strategies transit agencies can use to reduce overcrowding, with a particular more

"Nudging" Active Travel: A Framework For Behavioral Interventions Using Mobile Technology, Zhao, Jinhua, and Baird Tim , Transportation Research Board 93rd Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., (2014)

Advances in behavioral economics have begun to provide a new toolkit of theories, models, and empirical methods for designing and evaluating policy. While many of these techniques are highly relevant to behavioral problems that planners encounter when consulting with the public, crafting policy and regulations, and promoting sustainable patterns of behavior, it has received only limited attention in the planning and transportation literature. The authors review this literature and present a more

A WebApp Design to Implement Travel Behavioral Nudging using MOVES, Welsh, Brittany, Baird Tim, Zhao Jinhua, and Block-Schachter David , Transportation Research Board 93rd Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., (2014)

The democratization of ICT in the form of GPS, motion detection technologies, and internet connectivity in smartphones has led to a proliferation of mobile applications which can detect and record an individual’s travel behaviors. Compared with common methods of collecting transportation data, such as travel diaries and single-purpose gadgets (e.g. pedometers), the use of smartphone features can make data collection both more accurate and easier for both researcher and participants. In order more

Towards Nudging Active Travel: Behavioral Interventions Using Mobile Technology, Baird, Tim , School of Community and Regional Planning, Volume MSc, Vancouver, (2013)

Advances in behavioural economics have begun to provide a new toolkit of theories, models, and empirical methods for designing and evaluating policy. While many of these techniques are highly relevant to behavioral problems that planners encounter when consulting the public, crafting policy and regulations, and promoting sustainable patterns of behavior, this approach has received only limited attention in the planning and transportation literature. I review this literature and present a more

Preference Accommodating and Preference Shaping: Incorporating Traveler Preferences into Transportation Planning, Zhao, Jinhua , Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Volume PhD, Cambridge, MA, (2009)

This dissertation examines the psychological factors that influence travel behavior such as people's personality traits, environmental attitudes, car pride and perceptions of convenience and comfort. Despite the recognition of the importance of these psychological factors in better understanding travel behavior, transportation agencies have failed to integrate them into planning practice and policy debate in the quantitative way. This dissertation reflects on this failure, identifies the more

Team Members

Anne Halvorsen's picture
MST Student
Adam Rosenfield's picture
MST/MCP Student
Jeffrey Rosenblum's picture
PhD Candidate
Jinhua Zhao's picture
Edward H. and Joyce Linde Associate Professor