What sets MIND-SETS apart from other studies of user behaviour?
Traditionally, transport studies have looked at the “what” and the “how” of user behaviour, without considering the “why”. Yet it is crucial to understand users’ underlying incentives and motivations if we want to contextualize behavioural choices within a rapidly changing world, and more importantly, if we wish to design the kind of policies, products and services that will address user needs now and in the future.
So why do people choose certain trips over others? For a long time it was thought that travellers made rational, calculated trade-offs of time vs. money. But it’s really not that simple. There are emotional aspects to travel decisions, such as comfort level and predictability. Particularly during certain life stages, many people show a strong preference for habitual routes with no surprises over less expensive/faster but potentially more volatile ones.
How can we better understand the travel decision process?
Traditional modelling and forecasting techniques have relied on a number of different fields, from physics to statistical modelling and even the social sciences to predict how changes in the mobility system might lead to behavioural change among users. MIND-SETS takes this multi-disciplinary approach a step further by combining old disciplines with new insights. For example, hybrid choice models are able to incorporate intangibles such as habits, beliefs, attitudes and perceptions into utility-based economic models of behaviour, creating a more accurate picture of how people truly make decisions. Other psychological factors such as social influence, the impact of uncertainty, and overconfidence can lead people to make decisions that older models of mobility behaviour would not be able to predict.
What do travellers really want?
In short, the old way of thinking simply isn’t able to give manufacturers and travel service providers the intelligence they need to develop the kinds of products and services that people really want. Nor does it show political decision makers how to nudge people towards more sustainable alternatives, or how to create policies that level the playing field between the transport haves and the transport have-nots. These, really, are the goals of MIND-SETS: to create truly useful intelligence encompassing all aspects of the mobility decision-making process.