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Super-tailoring: Using self-persuasion to reduce drivers’ car use

Car use is a common travel mode in many societies but it has negative impacts on the environment and public health. There have been various interventions to reduce car use but self-persuasion has not been tested as a potential intervention. Self-persuasion involves asking people to generate arguments in favour of a specific issue. Our goal was to investigate the effectiveness of self-persuasion in changing drivers’ car use attitudes and behaviours. A sample of New Zealand drivers (n = 183) completed two online questionnaires; one immediately after and one at least 2 weeks after the intervention. We randomly assigned the drivers to one of three conditions: self-persuasion (generating arguments on the benefits of reducing car use), direct-persuasion (reading arguments on the benefits of reducing car use), and control (completing a different travel-related task). There were no significant differences between the three groups of drivers on car use intentions for commuting trips, weekly car use for commuting and non-commuting trips, or attitudes towards reducing car use. We attributed the ineffectiveness of self-persuasion to the average quality of arguments generated, the effortful nature of reducing car use, and the COVID-19 situation in New Zealand. Although self-persuasion may not be an appropriate intervention in the travel behaviour domain, future research needs to continue identifying new ways to reduce car use to reduce its detrimental effects.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Sivasubramaniyam, R. D., Charlton, S. G., & Sargisson, R. J. (2021). Super-tailoring: Using self-persuasion to reduce drivers’ car use. Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trip.2021.100359
© 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).