Paint It Red - A Multimethod Study of the Nudging Effect of Coloured Cycle Lanes
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionFrontiers in Psychology. 2021, 12, 1-12. 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.662679
Many countries colour their cycle lanes, but there is still a lack of research into the impact of this policy. Rather than constraining or regulating movement, coloured asphalt conveys information, and can serve as a good example of a “nudge”. In transport, there are few good examples of effective nudges for improved safety or sustainability. We used a multi-method approach to study the behaviour and experiences of cyclists before and after cycle lanes were coloured using red asphalt. Video data were collected and analysed to measure the extent to which motorists stopped in the cycle lane; motorist distance from the cycle lane on passing; and bicycle placement in the cycle lane. Cyclists (n = 1583) were asked how they experienced the cycle lane in field surveys. GPS data from cyclists (n = 2448) was used to measure whether colouring the cycle lanes resulted in a change of cyclists’ route choice. Video data showed no significant decrease in the share of passing motorists who stopped in the cycle lane. However, there was a significant decrease in the share of motorists stopping in the cycle lane rather than in the car lane or on the pavement. After recoating, motorists also kept a greater distance from the cycle lane; a greater share of cyclists chose to cycle in the cycle lane and a lower share cycled on the pavement. Analysis of survey data showed that visibility, perceived safety and ease of visualisation improved more in the recoated streets than in control streets. Analysis of the GPS data revealed a significant increase in cycling in the first streets to get red asphalt, with mixed results for the later streets. We discuss possible mechanisms behind the effects observed, and whether coloured cycle lanes can be considered as a form of nudging.