In research for the paper, EY interviewed policymakers in major cities in the US, UK, Australia, India and New Zealand to gather the latest thinking on the behavioral forces driving mobility and the policies that can improve it. The study shows how innovative behavioral and microsimulation techniques can help inform policymaking.
These techniques produced some surprising results. For example, one microsimulation case study tested the impact of a reduced, 30-hour working week on vehicles on the road in Sydney, Australia.
The results ran counter to the desired impacts. Government may introduce a shorter working week with the intention of reducing the number of residents travelling at the same time and easing congestion. But the case study showed that this is not the effect.
While the usual commuter rush hour after work was no longer as busy during the simulation, it seems that many workers chose to adopt a six-hour working day so they could leave in time to pick up their children from school, therefore increasing rather than easing congestion.
Behaviors can surprise. There is a clear role for behavioral economics in helping policymakers to understand these nuances and in nudging residents’ decisions toward the desired response.
Passengers in the driving seat
Some futurologists used to envisage flying cars travelling on a road network in the sky. This has, so far, proved wide of the mark. But planning for future transport need not just be a vision of science fiction.