Policies to Frame Behavioural Change Towards Low Carbon Transport

Policies to Frame Behavioural Change Towards Low Carbon Transport


A Bristow, Loughborough University, UK



The UK Government has committed to a cut in greenhouse gas emissions of 80% from 1990 levels by 2050 under the Climate Change Act of 2008. The first national carbon budgets target reductions of 29 to 40% by 2020. The vast majority of planned savings are from technology based measures relating to fuels and vehicles. The share of savings attributable to behavioural measures is very low. Given the scale of the savings required, the uncertainty in delivery of the longer term technologies and the loss of some savings to rebound effects a consistent message on behavioural change is needed. This paper considers ways of developing a policy framework to encourage the deep cuts in carbon emissions that will be required from the transport sector in the long run.

This paper briefly reviews existing policies and the evidence on the relative effectiveness of behavioural change measures. Innovative policies such as personal carbon trading that could provide the framing push to encourage greater reductions over time are then examined. In particular, the acceptability of such measures is considered, by bringing together for the first time evidence from a small but growing number of studies of PCT in the UK and Sweden. To date the evidence suggests that such policies could be designed to achieve public acceptability and may have greater public support than other more conventional measures. Given the need to achieve very large reductions in carbon there is a clear need to consider more radical framing policies that provide a consistent message to individuals to achieve continued savings into the future.


Association for European Transport