Webinar Invitation - How To Talk about Urban Mobility and Transport

Webinar Invitation - How To Talk about Urban Mobility and Transport

We have the opportunity for you to join our webinar on how to talk about urban mobility and transport this Friday 24 April 2020, 11am-1pm.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given us a tiny glimpse into what cities might look like if we shift New Zealanders away from car use. But moving into public and active transport remains a challenge. Even where we’ve seen raised levels of public concern about transport in urban environments, we haven’t always seen a matching increase in backing for policies and structural changes that support the mode shift. 

We are developing communications guidance for people and organisations who are working to deliver urban mobility solutions that grow the share of travel by public transport, walking and cycling. The guidance will help us use more effective strategies to:

  • improve people’s understanding, based on best evidence, of why a shift in transport modalities away from cars and towards active and public transport is needed

  • help people designing and leading the shift to have better conversations with the public

  • motivate people to act in support of these shifts.

Join Jess as she talks through the research and get some insights into how you can improve your conversations about urban mobility.

More information here and register here.

Nga mihi nui ki a koe,

Jess, Marianne, Sharon, Lucia and Rachel, at The Workshop


How to talk about Urban Mobility and Transport Shift

Webinar, 24 April 2020

Kathryn King, NZTA:

starts with communicating the need for change
can be challenging
over the next year or so

first output is the report

will help us have better conversations about reducing car dependence

vibrant sustainable and healthy communitoies


Jess Berentson-Shaw:

talking about good data

but weren't being adopted

great stories important

humans respond to a narrative, but that's still not enough
find better ways to tell stories and reimagine what's possible

driven by curiousity

important that's it's used in helpful and responsible ways to imp the world, to be mor einclusive and in harmony with the env


Start with the cake

Our vision – use impactful narratives to deepen public thinking

to improve decision making

Building a better world

Often based on western knowledge, but there are other tools, other ways of knowing

but recognise what we don't include. It's one lens.


Today, we'll cover

(refer to slides)

What's up with urban mobility

5 building blocks to deeper narratives

use examples from the transport guide

responding to Covid-19


urban environment not built in a way that makes w and c easy
Future challenges

cities that are a joy to live in, changes need to be made, and supported by people who will benefit


Build support for better systems and env to build cities that are a joy for people


Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow – mental shortcuts

e.g. we use emotion to judge the accuracy of info to see if it matches what we believe


we think about behaviour, not systems

e.g. when thinking about crashes at ped crossings, we focus on child or driver behaviour

miss the opportunity use more sophisticated ways

personal stories can fail to engage and lift focus to systems

Dominant thinking - solve congestion by building more roads

One narrative - mode shift is a luxury good e.g IB cycleway

PT and w and c needs to be dominant

requires moving understanding away from dominant stories

show how systems affect people


Mapping the terrain of narratives

what are dominant and unhelpful ways?

what are helpful ways?


Movement building – how do we equip a field of practice? (NZTA support for advocates? - fund webinar for advocates?


5 building blocks

1. Know your audience – who we are talking to

base – you want them to share your messages, activate your base

persuadables -

unpersuadables – avoid using time and resources on these, they amplify shallow explanations, inadvertantly spreads unhelpful thinking, myth busting, can suck energy away. Often 10-15% of people, but we sometimes thing they are more numerous


Don't test messages on your base. They “pan for gold”. They know what they are looking for.


2. present a vision for a better world
People have a normalcy bias
Remind peopleof a better future, with a clear and concrete vision
Open a side door so people can consider your vision.
Tell your story. Don't rubbish everyone elses.
Sell the cake, not the ingredients
Cake = a mobility culture
Start with env and people, not the elements
Include housing, public spaces, better streets
Don't lead with tech solutions – people will fight over details
Lead with the vision, follow with policy
Envision society that all people can particiapte in, inclusionary
Consult on vision, not tech solutions
How can we envisiage a better system, focus on those who aren't well served
Social proof – use prototypes
e.g. biking with kids during Covid L4, mobility is more inclusive than ever
How we can move forward together

3. Connect with people's values

Intrinsic or collective values e.g. Covid comms
These most likely motivate people to see eveidence around collective action and benefits
Re-imagined transport systems
Refer the Common Cause values map
Extrinsic – focus on self, money, power, achievement
NZ Values survey 2011, benevolence, care for people around us, and env.
Our task is to surface values that help collective action
Guide attention to most helpful values:
- fairness across places and generations, (but don't say fairness) how we can give opportunities to everyone, no matter their community
- freedom and independence, to descrive w and c and PT, frame infra as the key enabler
- harmony with the env
Values to avoid
identity, sense of belonging


4.  Better explanations for thinking fast and slow

frames = simplifying model, mental shortcut
helpful frames
PT delivers common good
Better mobility as a health issue

PT etc is a component of a sustainable city = luxury good

Use helpful metaphors
e.g. the economy is a machine that we control, not the weather
transport spine = helpful
rampant carbon is the problem we're trying to address
heat-trapping blanket

“Facts are a character in our story, they are not the story”
Use explanatory chain
Describe intial factor, describe the impacts (esp on the most vulnerable)
Use facts to lead people to solutions

5. Who our messengers arePair message with effective messengers, can talk from own experience
Use unexpected messengers
Use intergenerational messengers

Next work will be – develop NZ specific narratives