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The use of smart phone technology in creating a bottom up approach to behaviour change

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Conference paper

Publication date1/07/2014
Number of pages1
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventThe psychology of governing sustainable tourism mobility: Bridging the science-policy gap - Freiburg, Germany
Duration: 1/07/20144/08/2014


WorkshopThe psychology of governing sustainable tourism mobility: Bridging the science-policy gap


It is acknowledged that tourists have an awareness of the environmental impacts of their tourism mobility but are unwilling to change their behaviour. At the same time it is suggested that policy makers are not providing sufficient incentives or barriers to instigate behaviour change. This study explores the outcomes of providing tourists with a tool to enable them to utilise available transport resources within a localised network in order to travel more sustainability. The study context is camping tourism which is heavily reliant on car use with many visitors making the same journeys at the same time. A smartphone app was developed to enable visitors to join a social network in which users could combine resources and undertake collaborative car travel (e.g. lift sharing, shopping for one another or information exchange). A trial during 2013 asked campsite visitors to use the app for the duration of their stay (ranging from 3-10 days). All app users were issued a feedback questionnaire and approximately half of the users were interviewed. This study found that tourists were willing to share relevant local information within their network. In addition, they were eager to use the app to offer lifts or collect shopping. However, these offers were rarely taken up and there were very few instances of help requests being placed. This suggests that despite a viable mechanism being in place, barriers to behaviour change remain. These barriers include a desire to build up ‘credit’ in the exchange system and to retain the flexibility that personal car travel allows. While this study has revealed some capacity for changing travel behaviour from the bottom-up, aside from the tourists’ good will, the policy direction does little to encourage collaborative travel.