Episode 4: Traffic, transport and our behaviour

In this episode

We know from transport research that most car journeys in the UK are less than five miles with just one person in the vehicle, so how can we encourage people to use more sustainable travel options? In this podcast episode, Professor of Environmental Psychology Ian Walker explores the phenomenon of ‘Motor Normativity’. This is the idea that people have concluded without question that the world order, in terms of transport habits, is correct. When individuals or groups try to bring about change, for example, by encouraging people to drive less or shift the way they travel to active, cleaner modes of transport, there is very often a surprisingly aggressive backlash.

Professor Walker’s research looks at behaviours that are triggered automatically and unconsciously by the environment an individual finds themselves in, specifically in the context of driving habits. His interest in this area of study stems from  his own experience as a cyclist.

About our expert

Professor Ian Walker is an environmental psychologist who specialises in psychology and behaviour in the areas of transport, energy and water. He particularly specialises in working on bringing user needs into multidisciplinary projects with engineers and architects.

Professor Walker is psychology lead for the VSimulators building motion simulators and has worked extensively on in-home displays for energy and water that take end-user understanding into account. He also has a long-standing interest in choices and behaviours around sustainable active travel.

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