Introducing our new Webinar Series: From Mindshift to Modeshift

Welcome to the first edition of the “From Mindshift to Modeshift” webinar series (title to be determined at the end of this series) where we will interview experts in the shared mobility industry to discuss methods we can use to transition people from personal car use to alternative modes of transport.

Episode one is hosted by our very own Sandra Phillips, founder of movmi and the session brought together behavioral scientist Natalia Le Gal and Venkatesh Gopal (who will also be leading this monthly webinar series) to explore whether changing people’s mindsets or their transportation habits should come first. The chicken or the egg…

"It's really all about figuring out how we get people out of their personal cars. We currently call it from mindshift to modeshift because we don't exactly agree whether mindshift comes first or modeshift come first."
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Sandra Phillips
Founder | movmi

Keep reading for the key takeaways from the webinar, or watch the full session below. Stay tuned for new episodes launching monthly.

Mindshift & Modeshift

Episode One

Webinar Panel: movmi Team

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Sandra Phillips

Founder & CEO

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Venkatesh Gopal

E-mobility & Financial

Feasibility

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Natalia Le Gal

Behaviour Science Expert

Behavioral Insights

Natalia offered a deep dive into the psychological aspects of transportation change. As a behavioral scientist, she stressed that altering beliefs and attitudes (mindshift) was essential for enabling behavioral changes (modeshift). “For me, mindshift suggests a change of mind, involving beliefs and attitudes. Modeshift is the change in behaviors people actually do. It’s a classic chicken-and-egg problem,” Natalia explained. She further elaborated on how habitual our transportation behaviors are and the need for disruptions to provoke change, pointing out that without a shift in mindset, sustainable behavioral change is challenging.

Venkatesh shared his insights on the interplay between mindshift and modeshift. Reflecting on his personal experience, Venkatesh noted, “When I first moved to Vancouver, I experienced a forced modeshift that eventually led to a mindshift. It’s those moments of disruption that can really drive change.” Venkatesh emphasized that while infrastructure and policies are crucial, real change often happens when individuals face circumstances that force them to rethink their choices, leading to a lasting transformation in their behavior.

City Targets and Real-World Examples

Sandra brought in the example of Vancouver to illustrate how cities set targets to reduce single-occupancy vehicle trips. She recounted the growth of car sharing in Vancouver, which led to a significant shift in residents’ transportation habits and mindsets. “Within four years of Car2Go launching, car share membership in Vancouver increased dramatically. This showed a real mindshift and modeshift among residents,” she shared. Sandra discussed how setting clear targets, like shifting 10% of personal car trips to other modes, can provide direction and motivation for both policymakers and the public, driving systemic changes that support sustainable transportation.

The Role of Infrastructure and Social Proof

Natalia and Venkatesh discussed the critical role of infrastructure and social proof in driving behavioral change. Natalia pointed out, “We need multiple elements like infrastructure and social validation to create the conditions for people to change their behaviors.” Venkatesh added, “Reducing the number of decision points can encourage long-term commitment to alternative transportation modes.” They emphasized that visible and reliable alternatives, such as well-maintained bike lanes and accessible public transport, combined with social influences like seeing peers and community members using these modes, can significantly boost adoption rates.

Paris: A Case Study in Transformation

The group examined Paris’s transformation during COVID-19, where temporary infrastructure changes led to a significant increase in cycling. “Paris capitalized on the pandemic by creating temporary infrastructure that allowed people to experience cycling. Now, there are more bicycles than cars on the streets,” Natalia explained. This case study illustrated how cities can leverage crises to implement changes that encourage more sustainable transportation behaviors. By rapidly deploying bike lanes and reducing car traffic, Paris not only provided immediate solutions during the pandemic but also laid the groundwork for long-term behavioral shifts.

Overcoming Challenges and Developing Strategies

The discussion turned to the challenges of getting people to commit to shared mobility. Sandra highlighted, “Creating enjoyable and seamless experiences is crucial to attract users. We also need to address the pain points of car ownership, such as maintenance and parking hassles, to make shared mobility more appealing.” Natalia added that people often do not calculate the true cost of car ownership, including the stress and financial burden. By making alternative transportation modes not just viable but attractive and convenient, and by highlighting the downsides of car ownership, we can encourage more people to make the switch.

Policy and Leadership: Keys to Change

Sandra and Natalia emphasized the necessity of courageous politicians and leaders who can drive transportation changes by engineering disruption. “We need leaders who are willing to engineer disruption and be okay with the conflict that comes with it,” Sandra asserted. Natalia agreed, adding, “We need multiple things at the same time—good infrastructure, social proof, and policy interventions—to bring about change.” They argued that bold leadership is essential for implementing policies that encourage mindshift and modeshift, even if it means facing resistance from the public. Successful examples like Paris and Vancouver demonstrated the impact of visionary leadership in transforming urban mobility.

Conclusion: Mindshift or Modeshift?

To wrap up, the group agreed that significant behavior change requires multiple concurrent efforts. While mindshift seemed to be the ultimate winner in their discussion, with Sandra summarizing the session’s key takeaway, “If we can’t change your mind, you will never change your mode,” many of the examples and references focused on modeshift. This highlights how changing behaviors often starts with tangible changes in transportation options. However, it’s clear that both mindshift and modeshift must work together to achieve lasting change. While infrastructure and policies are crucial, a real game-changer is how people think about and perceive their transportation choices, creating a dynamic interplay that drives sustainable behavior change.

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Stay tuned for the next edition of the “Mindshift to Modeshift” webinar series, where we will continue to explore innovative ways to transform transportation habits and create more sustainable cities.

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