Nudging to Promote Active Transport: The interrelatedness of nudges, barriers and promoters in public policy interventions promoting active transport in Aarhus

Marianne Nielsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Our cities are growing and so are the challenges that urbanisation has brought about in the transport area. Many levels of government recognise the need for public policies that encourage active transport to prevent the negative impacts of motorised transport on the environment and health. In this regard, people-oriented mobility plans and behavioural science tools for changing people’s behaviour in pursuit of policy objectives are gaining ground.
This thesis seeks to uncover how nudges and barriers and promoters are interrelated in and influence the application of public policy interventions promoting active transport by applying a conceptual framework composed of types of nudges, barriers and promoters and the social-ecological model. Taking a point of departure on a literature review comprising existing literature within the field of active transport and behavioural interventions this study is carried out as a qualitative case study based on the experiences of the Mobility Teams in Aarhus Municipality. The Mobility Team’s primary task is to contribute with behaviourally informed nuances and approaches to the traditional infrastructure and urban planning projects. The collected data include case-specific and expert interviews besides case documents covering active transport interventions applied by the Mobility Team. The findings of this study suggest that various types of nudges and structural and specific barriers and promoters are interrelated at multiple levels of influence in clusters of patterns of relatedness based on target group size and overall patterns of relatedness across active transport interventions. The study further indicates that the Mobility Team is caught in a negative feedback loop where they cannot engage in large-scale and long-term active transport interventions.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages76
SupervisorsLucia A. Reisch