mobility coaching A project to change travel habits City of Göteborg Traffic & Public Transport Authority, 2007

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1 mobility coaching A project to change travel habits City of Göteborg Traffic & Public Transport Authority, 2007

2 Participants undertook to leave the car behind and to walk, cycle or take public transport at least three times a week.

3 Introduction In April 2006, motorists in Lundby were given the chance to take part in a new travel coach project. The innovative aspect of the project was that the goal was to change behaviour rather than just changing attitudes to travel. The target group for the project comprised motorists who used their car 5 7 days a week, i.e. people who basically used no other means of transport than their car. Participants were assisted by a coach to set their own goals and keep their motivation up. 68 people participated actively in the project, which ran between August 2006 and February Participants signed an agreement with the Traffic & Public Transport Authority/Lundby Mobility Centre whereby they undertook to leave the car behind and to walk, cycle or take public transport at least three times a week. In turn Lundby Mobility Centre agreed to support and encourage the participants to help ensure they managed to fulfil their side of the agreement. In addition to the coach, two coordinators were available day-to-day for practical issues and to encourage and challenge the participants. 20 people were coached individually. They started the project with a private talk to the coach and their co-ordinator. 45 people met in group sessions also involving a coach and coordinator. The participants divided themselves into three sub-groups based on what type of people they considered themselves to be: Challenge me Put pressure on me Lazy/comfortable Participants tested their fitness, weight and muscle mass at the start and end of the project, and kept a travel diary to clarify their travel behaviour. They were offered lectures on diet, movement and personal motivation, as well as help in finding public transport routes and getting around to visiting the cycle repair shop. The project is part of Lundby Mobility Centre s EU project BUSTRIP. The project involves 12 European cities in countries around the Baltic Sea. Evaluation The project has been evaluated both through surveys and through interviews in order to assess various effects. Participants completed a questionnaire survey both before and after the project to enable comparisons to be made. Personal interviews were carried out with some of the participants, as well as the people responsible for the project, the organisers (a coach, a coordinator and the project manager). Participants also underwent two health checks before and after the project to assess whether the project had led to changes in health. The main results from this evaluation are presented here. Aim of the project: To change behaviour. 3

4 Reasons for getting involved in the project 4 Most of the participants joined the project because they were curious about it, needed help getting started exercising more, and because they had become too dependent on the car. Many could see the connection between sitting still in a car and poor fitness levels. They needed someone to help them move around more. Many were very interested in starting to cycle, or cycling more. If this project was successful it would be positive for the environment as car travel would decrease. Even so, one participant did not think the environmental aspect was particularly central to the project, suggesting that in future projects of this kind the environmental factor could be pursued further. The coach in this project, on the other hand, did not think that the reason for taking part was the most important consideration, but primarily the goal, which was to reduce dependency on the car. I did it for my health. I wanted a form of everyday exercise as I don t have time to go and exercise in the evening. Since the children came along time is more of a factor. I cycle to work every day. In fact the kids cycle more now as well. Man, 38 I was planning to start cycling but the project gave me the chance to get some help. I didn t want to contribute to a poorer environment. It was also nice not to have to exercise in the evening, I d already done it when I got home from work. Woman, 52 I joined with a friend. The most appealing aspect in the beginning was the fitness tests, getting a check-up. Then it was more about the environment. Man, 45

5 The coaching The coaching was the foundation of the project, the aspect that helped the participants find their own motivation. Coaching mainly took place at the group meetings. The aim of the coaching was to encourage participants to carry on fighting for new travel habits and not give up when their motivation waned. The close contact between organisers and participants helped engender a sense of community and joint effort in making progress in the project. Two main groups can be discerned among the interviewed participants. There were those 6 who were highly motivated and decisive in completing the project, people who had an excellent foundation for succeeding even with limited input from the project leaders. On the other hand there were those participants who needed more support and coaching from the project leaders to make it. The different coaching needs of these two groups should be taken into account in similar projects in the future. The lazy/comfortable group required the most input from the coach, and there were more from this group than the others among those who dropped out of the project. Even so, the lazy/comfortable participants who saw the project through to the end did manage to change their travel habits significantly. It is also in this kind of group there is likely to be the greatest potential for health improvements, even though the people in question need more support. As for the level of coaching, two participants for example (one of whom from the lazy/comfortable group) thought the leaders could have pushed even more. This corresponds closely to the organisers opinion that they could have raised their demands. Because contact between the participants and organisers (particularly the co-ordinator and coach) has been so frequent, the organisers have a good idea of the participants results. Eketrägatan Lindholmen City Högsbohöjd g till fredag One coach and three organisers took part in the project a b

6 Group meetings getting together for change 6 The organisers were perceived as being very dedicated. Most of the participants felt that the number of group meetings was about right. The majority of participants interviewed thought the division into groups was important and effective. Everyone agreed that there had been a positive atmosphere in the groups. The structure worked very well. Despite this, there were requests for more travel activities (primarily cycling) early on in the project, and for the organisers to join the cycle rides as well. This is worth following up on, as participants would then feel that the leaders were not just theorists but can actually put themselves in their situation when they are out travelling without the car. The process of helping participants find the best routes to and from work by cycle and public transport could be developed. This would increase credibility for the project as well as the sense of community within the group, particularly with the organisers, which ought to boost the end results. At the same time though this work would have to be weighed up against costs, but certain individual measures are worth focusing on. Some participants also requested more group activities, although this does not have to mean they are necessary if participants are to succeed with their set goals in a project like this. Participants felt that the organisers were very dedicated, which they also thought they had been themselves. This probably had a positive effect on the results. The three have devoted a lot of time to the project, which has been good, although this is not sustainable moving forward if the same type of project is to be conducted on a larger scale without an increased budget. I d like to have seen more activities than we had during the project. Even so, I am glad the project s over. Now I can run on my own steam! Woman, 52

7 The project components combined into a unity The lectures and the health checks were particularly appreciated by almost all the participants interviewed. These aspects should be retained in some form in a future project. Half of the interviewed participants thought the travel diary was a good idea and even an incentive, as it was a reminder that they were taking part in the project. This falls in well with the travel diary as part of the coaching, according to the project s coach. The agreement signed at the beginning of the project, agreeing to leave the car behind for at least three days a week, had no great significance for most of the participants interviewed. Some said it did fulfil a certain role and explained in terms of it made it harder to drop out and it made you think before signing. The organisers agree that no individual aspect alone was decisive, but all the project s components taken together as a whole. Project components: The coaching The agreement The travel diary The lectures The health check The test-travel card 7 I ve fulfilled the contract I signed. I may have cut corners more without it so it certainly gave you something to think about. When I first received it I thought, What have I got myself into?, but the time passed quickly. It was all fun and exciting. Woman, 35 I knew I wasn t in the best shape, but the physical test was a wake-up call to how serious the situation was. That stopped me from taking it easy during the project. Without the project I think it would ve taken a few more years to get started, if at all, and I think I d have already been ill by then. Man, 42

8 Change is possible 8 The number of participants who drive to work every day decreased from 25 to 2. 62% 27% An evaluation of the participants travel habits after the travel coach project reveals that cardriving has decreased significantly. Instead participants like to cycle or walk, or take public transport. The effects have been less expenditure on fuel and lower emissions. The number of participants who drive to work every day has decreased from 25 to 2. The number of people who cycle or walk to work at least two days a week has increased from 18 to 49. Both the people coached individually and those coached in groups have reduced their cardriving dramatically. Some have reduced the number of owned cars in the household (6 out of 45 participants), and several said this was a direct result of the project (4 participants). All the participants believe they will continue with their new travel habits. The project must therefore be viewed as very successful in the present situation. However, the definitive results will be discernible after a longer period, when it will become clear whether or not the established new habits last in the long run. 11 % 20% 16% 26% 9% 26% It was quite an aha experience when I realised you could change your travel habits. It was easier than I thought. It was good to meet others facing the same challenge. When the cycling got tough I had the other project members in my mind and could see them struggling as well. Woman, 52 I have a new kind of insight after talking to the others and the coaches. The biggest thing is that I now think twice before just jumping into the car when I m going somewhere. Man, 45 I m less dependent on the car and feel a bit freer. Woman, 52 We were given plenty of information and advice which helped when the going got tough. I did the best I could. You want to feel proud when you go to the meetings. I think these habits will last, even though there are bound to be times when I ll struggle. Woman, 35 CAR PUBLIC TRANSPORT CYCLE WALK MC Percentage of journeys to and from work by various means before and after the project.

9 Health and environmental effects I now get daily exercise and I ve lost weight quite easily. I now evangelise a bit and try to get others at work to cycle. Man, 38 I wanted to stop being dependent on the car. I was driving unnecessarily and was a little bit too lazy. I wanted to move around more but also start using public transport. The fitness test showed a clear improvement and I feel much more energetic. Man, 42 The good thing is my fitness has improved. I started taking new routes to work, both walking and on the bus, so I ve got to see new parts of town where I d never been before. Woman, 35 Cycling has given me a new habit; listening to talking books on CD. Sometimes I take a longer route so I can listen a bit more. And now I have a new challenge: to get to work on inlines instead of by bike. Man, 38 According to the health checks, some individuals have improved their health considerably with better oxygen absorption and weight loss. However, for the group as a whole the health checks reveal no distinct changes between the start and end of the project. One reason is probably that the before-check was carried out in August-September, while the after-check was in March-April. Both checks should have been conducted in the same month with at least a year in-between to avoid seasonal variations. The interviews also revealed other positive effects which also influence well-being, but which the participants had not foreseen. The participants contribution to negative environmental effects has decreased considerably now that their travel habits have changed. The average emission of nitrogen oxides per person on work-related trips decreased to one-third, while the average emission of carbon dioxide virtually halved. The project has therefore contributed to a better environment, especially as those with older cars in particular have left the car behind. 64 kg Half of the participants feel their health improved during the project, while half feel their health is unchanged. Only one feel their health has deteriorated kg 36 kg 0.05 kg NITROGEN DIOXIDE CARBON DIOXIDE Participants average emissions of nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide for travel to and from work in kg per month and per person.

10 The ambassado effect 10 Several of the people in the project have become so committed that they even evangelise to others around them. The project has received a lot of attention both in the media and at the participants workplaces. Several of the participants mentioned the attention they have received at their workplace. This was partly because some of them had featured in the media, such as the newspaper Göteborgs- Posten and on the regional TV news programme Västnytt. Participants also received attention when they walked or cycled to work. There were many questions regarding travel routes, but also about the project, and participants saw themselves as ambassadors. Several colleagues have also started, which meant a pleasant subject of conversation during break times. In fact these people had become so committed that they even evangelised to others around them. Some saw themselves as ambassadors for their new lifestyle/travel habits. This positive spin-off effect of the project is hard to quantify but should not be underestimated from a local perspective, be it Lundby as a city district or an individual workplace. One of the participants had a similar thought: This idea of concentrating a project on a workplace should be developed further, something the project leaders also had some ideas about for the future. The project brought attention at work and a lot of people asked about cycling, especially after I d been on TV. I was particularly proud when someone called me a role-model. Woman, 52 I ve talked to a lot of people about the project, especially work colleagues, and I think I ve had an influence on them. Half of them have started walking or cycling to work rather than taking the car. Woman, 52 I m tremendously pleased, and more people ought to have a chance to be involved in a project like this. This may even be a way of getting whole workplaces moving. Woman, 35

11 Lessons The aim of the project was to reduce cardriving and the target group were inveterate motorists. Although the coach thinks that many of the participants got involved for reasons of health and exercise with a focus on cycling, he believes that a key to succeeding with a similar project is to be open to people s reasons for taking part. In a similar project in the future, the focus for achieving the same goals should be established. Before the project begins, the marketing of the project should be closely analysed in order to achieve the greatest possible impact and participation. The participants first impression is important. The coach suggested that one possible improvement might be to have the team line-up finalised when the participants first meet the organisers, so that co-operation partners such as the local cycle dealer are involved and introduce themselves. The co-ordinator thinks it may be important to produce professional material for the participants at the first meeting to show how important the project is. The advantage of the project being a pilot project was that there was more of a sense of community. The right image should be considered before a project begins. Because the project was a trial, it was flexible in its approach. Nevertheless, the activity schedule was established very early on so that participants could plan ahead. However, in a future project the entire planning process should be more formalised to save work time, according to the project manager. The project s strong point was the dedication shown primarily by the participants but also by the organisers. The fact that the participants felt involved in forming the project meant that not many people dropped out along the way, believes the coach. The project manager put forward the idea that perhaps participants ought to be let go of faster, because if they are not motivated enough to take part actively their travel habits may not last long beyond the end of the project in any case. The coaching is based on the fact that people work differently. The coach thinks the best part of the project was the way participants in the individualised group were taken care of and that they formed strong relationships. It is important to consider whether to start off with interviews like in the individualised group, which the coach thought was important for building relationships in the initial stages, and if so to budget for this work input. The project manager thinks that a personal discussion with each participant at the very start should be considered: it may be more resourcedemanding initially but could profit the project overall. The co-ordinator thinks they should have placed higher demands on the participants. However, it is important that the demands that are placed are consistent and clearly defined for all participants. The lectures were very much appreciated. One of the lectures was co-ordinated with other interested parties outside of the project to cover the costs, which was an advantage. This solution may also be applied in future projects. The first physical test acted as a motivator for the participants but several did not turn up for the final test, which could be because they expected a negative result. This could be avoided if the second test instead takes place after a year to ensure the results are not misleading due to seasonal variations, which was also the organisers experience. In summary, the now completed project can be considered a great success. There is always room for improvement, but there is no doubting that several participants now have a better quality of life while their environmental impact has also decreased. Results and lessons have been documented in more detail in Swedish in the Traffic & Public Transport Authority s bulletin no. 6:2007 on the travel coach project in Lundby. 11

12 Between August 2006 and February 2007, 68 people in Lundby, Göteborg, took place in a travel coach project. The aim was to leave the car behind and to walk, cycle or take public transport at least three times a week. Following the project, the number of participants who drove to work every day had decreased from 25 to 2. The number of people who cycled or walked to work at least two days a week increased from 18 to 49. All the participants believe they will continue with their new travel habits. The participants contribution to negative environmental effects has decreased considerably now that their travel habits have changed. The average emission of nitrogen oxides per person on work-related trips decreased to one-third, while the average emission of carbon dioxide virtually halved. The project and project evaluation have been documented in Swedish in the Traffic & Public Transport Authority s bulletin no. 6:2007 on the travel coach project in Lundby. SWECO VBB. PRODUCTION APPELLERA/L BULUKIN. PHOTOGRAPHY STINA OLSSON, SERGIO JOSELOVSKY. GÖTEBORG 2007 For further information, please contact City of Göteborg Traffic & Public Transport Authority Box 2403, SE Göteborg, Sweden Tel: +46 (0)

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