A nudge in the right direction – Evaluation Report of the Adult Pedestrian Trial

Liverpool City Council

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Uploaded to Knowledge Centre
31 January 2024

Liverpool has one of the highest adult pedestrian casualty rates outside of London. After extensive analysis, observations, and the collection of primary data at key locations, specific behaviours were identified as contributing to pedestrian collision risk. These included the underuse of traffic light-controlled crossings.

To try to encourage crossing use and reduce pedestrian risk, two nudge-based interventions were designed.

These focused on two areas: outlier high streets (Faster Boarding) and city centre/night-time economy (Compli-Crossing). The designs are shown in situ below.

Liverpool City Council, in partnership with So-Mo, a behavioural science consultancy, introduced these embedded nudges to existing crossings in Liverpool. Liverpool partnered with Hull to test the replicability of the nudge-based interventions in a second city.

To test effectiveness, the study counted the proportion of correct crossings at three sites during a baseline period (when no intervention was in place) and an intervention period (when the behavioural intervention was in situ).

There were almost 4,000 crossings coded for both high street sites and nearly 6,500 crossings counted at the Liverpool night time site.

While the study demonstrates the potential for nudge-based interventions to improve pedestrian behaviour, it also highlights the complexities of implementing such measures across diverse urban settings.

There was a 14% improvement in correct crossings at the high street (Faster Boarding) site in Liverpool and this was unlikely to have occurred by chance.

However, there was no improvement in the proportion of correct crossings at the high street site in Hull or at the night time economy site in Liverpool.

Qualitative data were also collected. Engagement with Sensory and Physically Impaired Road Users took place throughout the trial, from the planning stage to during the intervention period of the study.  Valuable feedback was received during the design period and changes were subsequently made. Road safety audits were also conducted.

A wrap up meeting was held in July 2023 to present the findings to the partners and to explore lessons learnt. Whilst there was disappointment initially that the interventions did not have a positive impact at all locations, partners did recognise the value of the study and that there are benefits to learning from negative results.

The study demonstrated that on-street trials are required to accurately measure the efficacy of real-world, behavioural interventions which aim to improve road safety. While simulations and controlled environments have some merit, they lack the unpredictability and complexity of the real world.

Click the following link to read the full report: