A recent study conducted by Latitude Research and Next American City reveals that new technologies and improved access to information can encourage transit use. They sampled 18 individuals aged 24 – 51 from Boston and San Francisco who are regular car drivers and asked them to go car-free for a week. They were tracked by GPS, surveyed about their perceptions of mobility before and after the study, and engaged in group discussions using the web throughout the study. Boston and San Francisco were chosen due to their recent commitment to open data solutions and technological initiatives.
The study is summarized by three main insights:
- Information can equalize transit choices
- Participants rated convenience, control, and flexibility as their highest values for mobility.
- Location-aware mobile apps provide real-time information about the trade-offs between different routes and modes of travel, extending a feeling of convenience, control, and flexibility to transit.
- Lose a car, gain a community
- The majority of participants felt reconnected to their neighbors and their community by riding transit or adopting other non-automobile oriented transportation.
- Mobile apps can enhance the off-line, real-world experience by connecting individuals to others while traveling.
- Alternative transit is good for me and we
- Participants gained insight into the environmental, health, and economic/financial benefits of car-free lifestyle.
- Readily accessible information, largely available through the use of mobile apps, allows for empathy formation and an increased understanding of their own and others’ preferences and values.
Read the full article at http://www.livinglabs-global.com/blog/?p=1587#more-1587