In recent decades, a stagnation or even a decline in pedestrian traffic has been observed in many cities, despite the ambitious efforts of national and international action plans, strategies and initiatives.
Our project "Walk Your City" (WYC) addresses this problem by designing, developing and evaluating an innovative, behavioural and incentive-based pedestrian initiative with a focus on the nudging method. The target group-specific and behaviour-based research initiative aims to decisively improve the quality of life in cities by encouraging walking as an active and health-enhancing movement.
The focus is on target groups facing a radical change, such as migrants, new residents and students, who have to adapt their mobility behaviour to the new situation. The central output is the conception and development of a demonstrator in the form of a companion app as well as offline campaigns.
Through the unique combination of technological innovations (e.g. "augmented reality", "beacons"), theories of behaviour change (e.g. Transtheoretical Model, nudging) and creative campaigns on site ("offline campaigns") citizens are nudged to explore the city on foot. Walking should be perceived as a genuine and healthy alternative for short distances and anchored as first choice when covering small distances. The nudging-method will be iteratively optimized in terms of acceptance, functionality and usability using focus groups, internal lab tests and expert workshops.
These processes enable both a project-specific and practice-oriented project implementation that is tailored to the needs of the target groups. The mobility and health data obtained during the pilot test are used to evaluate the suitability and impact of the nudging method. With the empirical data we get important insights whether and how, respectively the theory-based approaches, the designed intervention and offline campaigns are suitable for behavioural change.