The first phase of a commuter-driven initiative designed to help reduce traffic congestion in and around Exeter has revealed some fascinating results. Experts from the University of Exeter are determining what factors influence the time and routes chosen by people travelling to and from the city.
As part of the project, the team hosted an online survey earlier this year aimed at anyone aged 17 and over who commutes for work or study. A Bayesian probability approach was used to analyse the results and respondents were allocated into five groups, depending on whether they predominantly walk/run, cycle, use public transport, use a motor vehicle, or a combination within one journey (e.g. Park and Ride). The model was also used to explore the commuting behaviour and related characteristics for each group and identified the most significant factors that influence people’s behaviours and choices.
A selection of the survey results are available on the website (www.commute-exeter.com) including the following:
· People who predominantly walk or run but also use a motor vehicle to commute, use a vehicle 35% more if they are influenced by weather information they receive.
· People who predominantly cycle and sometimes use another mode, use their bicycle 10% less often if they are influenced by the traffic congestion information they receive.
· People who use public transport who also commute using a motor vehicle, use the vehicle 18% less often if they are concerned with the environment.
· The combination group has the highest proportion (14%) of people planning to change the way they travel to their work/study place, mainly to have a better journey; the most common mode combinations are car/bus and bus/walk.
· People in the motor vehicle group who also use public transport, use public transport 20% more often if they are influenced by the traffic congestion information they receive.
Dr Sal Lampkin, said: “The survey results are very encouraging and give us a great basis for the start of Phase 2 when we will be working together with the Exeter public early next year to create some tangible ideas to address the key findings”
The survey is part of the Engaged Smart Transport initiative, ground-breaking, two-year smart transport project for the area involving the University, in partnership with Exeter City Council, Devon County Council and a consortium led by NTT DATA, a leading global IT services provider. The group will use real-time traffic and weather sensor data, combined with other data sources such as eyewitness and behavioural information to better understand the factors affecting people’s travel behaviour.
Dr Lampkin said: “Phase 2 consists of a series of workshops involving commuters in the region, one for each of the five groups we have identified. We have started inviting people to these workshops so look out for more information if you completed the survey earlier in the year. We are very keen to hear your opinions and ideas on how we may be able to address some of the traffic congestions concerns that many of us face on a daily basis “