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Soft measures - soft options or smart choice?

Anable, J.; Kirkbride, A.; Sloman, L.; Newson, C.; Cairns, S.; Goodwin, P.; (2005) Soft measures - soft options or smart choice? Presented at: 37th Conference of the Universities Transport Studies Group, Bristol. Green open access

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In recent years, there has been growing interest in a range of transport policy initiatives which are now widely described as ‘soft measures’. Soft measures usually seek to give better information and opportunities which affect the free choices made by individuals, mostly by facilitating attractive, relatively uncontroversial, and relatively cheap alternatives. They include initiatives such as school and workplace travel plans, personalised journey planning, car clubs, public transport information and marketing and teleworking. This paper will provide an overview of the evidence for a recent DfT study of soft factors (Cairns et al 2004) which concluded that ‘sufficient evidence now exists to have confidence that soft factor interventions can have a significant effect on individual travel choices’. Indeed, the headline finding of the review is that, ‘given a fair wind from national and local government policy, and a serious but not unrealistic commitment of effort, the voluntary changes in car use brought about by soft measures could amount to a reduction in the order of 11% of traffic at the national level’. Projections for peak period traffic reduction at the local level ranged between 14% and 21%. The evidence used to inform these conclusions will be outlined in this paper. The paper will then outline the projections of the impacts of soft factors and address the following: - How much do soft factors cost and what value of money do they represent? - Are soft measures introduced in combination greater than the sum of their parts? - What constitutes a ‘supportive policy environment’ for soft factors? Finally some conclusions will be drawn as to whether soft factors are indeed a ‘softer option’ and, in the light of the evidence, what role they have in transport policy in the future.

Type: Conference item (Presentation)
Title: Soft measures - soft options or smart choice?
Event: 37th Conference of the Universities Transport Studies Group
Location: Bristol
Dates: 5-7 Jan 2005
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1392
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