We must recognise that in low cycling countries our fears have a large impact on our cycling behaviour and our instincts (feelings) are poorly tuned to the real risk of cycling. A positive experience (enjoyment) makes it more likely that we will cycle again. A mishap in the early stages will discourage further cycling. This is why good cycle infrastructure makes a difference, as it creates a forgiving environment to cycle.
We are creatures of habit. The book The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz that we develop rules of thumb to lighten the cognitive load of making decisions. Habits, too, lighten the cognitive load, as they provide the reassurance that the way we have always thought about doing things is somehow the best.
Arguments and barriers that undermine change and the challenges of the active travel agenda.
Active travel faces many barriers. One is our perceptions of a safety, or fear. As a society, we seem to be getting more fearful. Our perceptions of safety are important. Psychology and neuroscience has come a long way to explaining our nature. The availability cascade is a contributing factor in our perception of risk.
Our memory is very short, so we quickly lose perspective of what was, and take the new as the natural order of things, as though it always was, but there is nothing normal about it. This article relates to the environment but it can be applied to our culture and seen in politics.
We have many cognitive biases. Thought experiments can illustrate to us our cognitive preference for the status quo. Status quo bias can be detected many ways. Status quo bias is interesting from a psychological perspective but also political as it explains societies conservative nature.
Active travel will only work if they feel it is safe to be on the streets, particularly when it is dark and/or we are alone. It is important, for many reasons, that we create cities where we feel comfortable. Active travel certainly depends on it.
In Canberra, the average time commuting has increased by 64.5% over 15 years and will increase further.
Cities are built for people, and if they are well done they are good places to live. This is the aim of urban design. Walter Burley Griffin worked from a clean sheet. Urban planning is usually changing what we already have, and this means lots of stakeholders and compromises.