MaxSem and its stage diagnostic questions

Mobility Management aims to change individuals’ choice of travel mode. To be effective here, it is very helpful to understand the behavioural change process and to apply this knowledge e.g., to select the best strategies to get people to use the bike instead of the private car. The MAX-project developed a new integrated psychological model “Max Self Regulation Model” (MaxSem).

It combines the most important aspects of static and dynamic models and shows that within the process of behavioural change, people moves through different stages of ‘readiness’ to change their travel behaviour. These stages can be viewed as a series of steps, leading up to the final step of actual behavioural change. In order for people to progress from earlier to later stages, key threshold points (orange shaded in Figure below) have to be ‘satisfied’. Evaluations of MM projects mostly focus on the actual behavioural change.

In order to obtain a ‘fuller picture’ of what the intervention has achieved it is also important to measure more subtle changes in attitudes and perceptions which represent a stage movement. Evaluations that focus solely on actual behavioural change would not show this and therefore their success in moving people towards behaviour change would be understated.

Stage 1: Pre-contemplative stage
Persons in this stage are habitual car drivers who have no intention
to reduce their current car use. The aim here is to make this group think of possible change.
Stage 2: Contemplative stage
Persons in this stage are thinking about reducing their current car use: they have formed a personal car reduction goal. The aim here is to present to this group attractive options for changing their behaviour.
Stage 3: Preparation/action stage
Individuals in this stage have selected a concrete behavioural strategy for reaching their car reduction goal (e.g. using the bike instead of the car to go to work) or they have already occasionally tried the new behaviour. The aim here is to have the group actually try out new behaviour and to facilitate the maintenance of this new behaviour.
Stage 4: Maintenance stage
Individuals in this stage have adopted the new behaviour and have formed a new habit. The aim here is to reward the new habit and to prevent relapse to the old behaviour.

How can you use MaxSem?

MaxSem provides stage-diagnostic questions that can measure people´s stage position. Measurements of people’s stage position can be used before the project starts to segment your target group and to choose and design the most appropriate and effective Mobility Management measures for them. You can either address all four stages, or select the stages that are most important in your location.

After the implementation of the measure you can use the same questions to assess the proportion of the target group that have moved between the stages as a result of a given MM measure.

A guidance how to apply theory to the design and evaluation of Mobility Management projects you can download here.