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Segmentation techniques for persuasive demand management: energy and transport

Project Description

This project aims to combine the principles of persuasive demand-management in the domestic energy and personal transport domains with novel approaches to market segmentation science. Much of the current travel attitude segmentation work is based on the work of Anable (2005, 2011). This has been applied to multiple studies of behaviour including bus use in Scotland, car club users in the UK and in a comparative 6-city study across Europe leading to a variety of tools to support mobility management being used by municipal authorities such as Transport for London and the City of Utrecht. However, the original work was undertaken before the emergence of some important urban transport innovations such as city bike share, micro-mobility modes, ride-hailing services and other ‘on-demand’ developments. There is also evidence that attitudes to car ownership and use are changing rapidly in younger age groups. Whilst the field of travel behaviour change is relatively mature, it is parallel to behaviour change developments in other fields such as health and fitness, which has attracted a lot of work from persuasive technology and computing science, in which personalisation and AI are key areas of research. Dr Pangbourne’s recent work has been investigating interactions between travel attitude segmentation, personality traits and perceived message persuasiveness in order to investigate how to personalise travel behaviour change messaging via persuasive technology. The advent of Mobility as a Service facilitates preference-matching for greater provision of ‘on-demand’ mobility which does not necessarily deliver more energy efficiency or improved air quality. It also challenges existing segmentation models. The successful candidate will be expected to suggest ways of field-testing the techniques that they develop, as well as to engage with important developments in this area, such as the work of the Transport and Mobility theme of CREDS, the UK Department for Transport’s Climate Change and Transport Choices work, and University of Leeds students working in related areas. Professor Anable is Professor of Transport and Energy and her research addresses the potential for demand-side solutions to reduce carbon, local emissions and energy from transport. Dr Pangbourne is University Academic Fellow – Smart Travel Behaviour and her research addresses persuasive behaviour change message for modal shift towards more sustainable transport modes (ADAPT) as well as governance of transport in a smart mobility age.

A minimum entry requirement of 2.1 BSc or equivalent in a relevant subject is required (unless the applicant can evidence other strongly relevant qualifications or extensive relevant industry experience involving research and writing for external audiences). A Master’s degree in a topic such as Persuasive Technology, Behaviour Change or Psychology (Environmental or Social) would be highly desirable. Knowledge of transport or energy planning, policy or geography is desirable. Experience in the interdisciplinary use of qualitative and quantitative research methods, including the use of mobile technologies in data collection, is highly desirable.

Funding Notes

Funding on offer: This 3 year award will provide tuition fees (£4,500 for 2019/20), tax-free stipend at an equivalent rate to UK Research Councils (£15,009 for 2019/20), and overall research training and support grant of £2,250.

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