Shifting Traveler Behavior

 Using alternative transportation modes has been perceived as inconvenient, leading travelers to rely solely on single-occupant vehicles. ConnectSmart focuses on proactively shifting travel behavior.

First and last-mile services, personalized travel suggestions, incentives, and relevant alerts have made it possible to provide targeted, actionable information to influence behavior in a matter that was not available even in recent years. ConnectSmart represents the next logical step in expanding strategies in the region through an innovative travel behavior change engine. 

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Behavior Application Framework

An ADM-supported congestion-mitigation framework addresses system objectives enabled by user-centric concepts focusing on choices, convenience, price, and satisfaction with mobility. To that extent, the concepts of Mobility on Demand (MOD) or Mobility as a Service (MaaS) capture the ADM user-centric aspect. However, simply presenting mobility options does not necessarily result in travelers changing their behavior immediately or at all (otherwise, existing trip planning apps would have caused more significant alternate mode adoption). Many prior studies have concluded that humans are influenced by their habitual behavior, and once a habit is formed, it takes a great deal to prompt a new behavior. Initiating behavior change requires a challenging “new habit cycle,” which entails introducing a trigger to generate the desired action that eventually becomes a habit (new trigger-action-new habit)

ConnectSmart’s MaaS ecosystem will not only provide travelers with a convenient way of multimodal/intermodal trip planning and payment, but will also transcend the traditional MaaS concept by introducing a behavior engine to actively engage travelers with available mobility options through appropriate means (e.g., gamification and incentives) to achieve desired behavior changes.


Behavior Engine

ConnectSmart’s platform integrates its trip planner element with the behavioral modification engine. The multimodal and intermodal trip planner is supported by an easy-to-use interface that allows users to discover all available mobility options. The trip planner’s travel patterns and mode choices, which is displayed at the top of this page, is a cyclic behavior trigger and reinforcement process. This initiates from:

  1. Observing the user’s behavior

  2. Learning the user’s behavior

  3. Finding personalized mobility options

  4. Triggering behavior change

  5. Reinforcing the new behavior


Underlying Principles

Behavior change is jointly determined by ability and motivation. As a task becomes more difficult to accomplish, higher levels of motivation are required whether intrinsic to the individual or external incentives. Users who fall below but near the Action Line have the potential to be nudged with effective behavior strategies and/or mobility platform provisioning. The behavior strategies could include non-monetary incentives (e.g., information) and monetary incentive interventions. When both behavior and mobility strategies are applied synergistically, the target users can be nudged and moved efficiently towards the upper-right direction rather than independently. Much higher program outcomes can be achieved compared to traditional approaches.

For example, while various incentive strategies can be implemented to encourage public transit use, we could achieve greater program outcomes if the mobility platform also assists users to form carpooling groups. We know carpooling is easier to do and incentives also may help increase interest. A mobility platform that increases real-time matching and reduces the safety concerns regarding carpooling with strangers would significantly increase its adoption.