The final step in a bicycle program is to support riders and promote the existing facilities. At this end of the cycle you can move up to 1 Measure and Understand
Programs aimed to change behaviour, sometimes referred to as encouragement programs or marketing programs are of little use if there are no facilities. They have an important role however in promoting what exists and in rasing the possibility of bike riding in the area. Maps and guides are a powerful and simple tool to tackle awareness. More sophisticated programs are needed to help people get over 'barriers' to a new habit or to re-evaluate their assessment of the benefits of riding.
Community based social marketing
We are strong advocates of community based social marketing as described and developed by Douglas McKenzie-Mohr
Ride to Work and Ride2School programs are based on these principles.
Community-based social marketing is an attractive alternative to information intensive campaigns. In contrast to conventional approaches, community-based social marketing has been shown to be very effective at bringing about behavior change.
Its effectiveness is due to its pragmatic approach. This approach involves:
* identifying barriers to a sustainable behavior,
* designing a strategy that utilizes behavior change tools,
* piloting the strategy with a small segment of a community, and finally,
* evaluating the impact of the program once it has been implemented across a community.
Identifying Barriers: If any form of sustainable behavior is to be widely adopted by the public, barriers to engaging in the activity must first be identified. Community-based social marketers begin by identifying these barriers. They do so using a combination of literature reviews, focus groups, and survey research. The barriers they identify may be internal to the individual, such as lack of knowledge regarding how to carry out an activity or external, as in structural changes that need to be made in order for the behavior to be more convenient.
There may be multiple internal and external barriers to widespread public participation in any form of sustainable behavior and that these barriers will vary for different individuals and for different activities. Since the barriers that prevent individuals from engaging in sustainable behavior are activity specific, community-based social marketers begin to develop a strategy only after they have identified a particular activity's barriers. Once these barriers have been identified, they develop a social marketing strategy to remove them.
Behavior Change Tools: Social science research has identified a variety of "tools" that are effective in changing behavior. These tools include such approaches as gaining a commitment from an individual that they will try a new activity, or developing community norms that encourage people to behave more sustainably.
The techniques that are used by community-based social marketers are carried out at the community level and frequently involve direct personal contact. Personal contact is emphasized because social science research indicates that we are most likely to change our behavior in response to direct appeals from others.
Piloting: Prior to implementing a community-based social marketing strategy it is piloted in a small portion of a community. Given the high cost of implementing many programs, it is essential to know that a strategy will work before it is implemented on a large scale. Conducting a pilot allows a program to be refined until it is effective. Further, a pilot allows alternative methods for carrying out a project to be tested against one another and the most cost-effective method to be determined. Finally, conducting a pilot can be a crucial step in demonstrating to funders the worthiness of implementing a program on a broad scale.
Evaluation: The final step of community-based social marketing involves ongoing evaluation of a program once it has been implemented in a community. In conducting an evaluation, community-based social marketers emphasize the direct measurement of behavior change over less direct measures such as self reports or increases in awareness. The information gleaned from evaluation can be used to further refine the marketing strategy as well as provide evidence that a project should receive further funding.