Exploring Public Acceptance of Urban Road Space Reallocation: A Vignette-Based Survey Experiment



Urban Mobility Strategy, Active modes, public opinion




This study investigates public opinion towards the envisioned urban strategy “E-Bike City” that aims to reallocate half of street space to active mobility modes, public transportation, and public spaces. The research, formulated as an assessment of a hypothetical strategy, employs a vignette-based survey experiment within a sample of approximately 6,500 participants from a Swiss national panel survey. The focus is on understanding the individual drivers of public opinion regarding this urban strategy.

A significant component of the study is the examination of sociodemographic influences on public opinion. The analysis aims to uncover how factors such as urban versus rural residency and car usage affect attitudes towards E-Bike City strategy. To do so, we employed an experiment presenting two hypothetical E-Bike City implementations, each with different attributes concerning funding sources (city, federal government, or both), e-bike purchase subsidies (varied target groups), and accessibility measures for suburban and rural areas. Participants evaluate these scenarios based on their level of support, perceived fairness, anticipated effectiveness in promoting (e-)bike usage, and potential intrusiveness in daily life. In a second step, respondents also indicate which of the two proposals they would be more likely to accept. This comparison of the two scenarios in a hypothetical popular vote allows us to identify which aspects of the concept are more likely to be accepted or rejected by different demographic segments.

The goal of this research is to provide a nuanced understanding of public perception towards sustainable urban mobility concepts, focusing on the E-Bike City as a hypothetical urban mobility strategy. Insights from this study will contribute to the discourse on sustainable urban planning, the reallocation of street spaces, strategies towards car-free cities and thus informing strategies for communicating and designing sustainable urban mobility policies.