Car traffic is a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and impacts urban quality of life in many ways. SWITCH focuses on promoting walking and cycling as important alternatives to car use especially for short urban journeys. These active modes are the basis of healthy, environmentally friendly multimodal travel behaviour with synergies to public transport. The quality and quantity of infrastructure for active modes has increased significantly in recent years in many European cities. While many cities are working hard on improving conditions for these modes, the share of car trips for short urban journeys is still high.
Indeed according to the EU report, Cycling: the way ahead for towns and cities, more than 30% of trips made in cars in Europe cover distances of less than 3 km and 50% are less than 5 km. People seem to ignore active modes even if these are reasonable alternatives to car trips. The gap between this potential and current use is the building block of the SWITCH project.
The SWITCH project uses behaviour change approaches to encourage people to switch from car trips to active modes. SWITCHs innovation comes from the combination of tried and tested behaviour changes approaches and their application to specific target groups on a large scale. The added value of SWITCH lies in the combination of a common strategy based on experiences and locally adapted campaigns in Antwerp, Gdansk, London, Donostia-San SebastiÃ¡n and Vienna. While the campaigns will look different in each of the implementation cities, the common denominator is a personalised mobility consultancy using arguments from public health and mobility campaigning, and the use of one or more ICT solutions (information and communication technologies). All SWITCH campaigns are applied to people in a period of life change (e.g. moving, changing employment status) in order to maximise the output.