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Essex County Council

Stop. Swap. GO!

In response to the steady decline in bus usage across its region, Essex County Council wanted to encourage people to switch their car journeys for the bus. We worked with the Council to create Stop. Swap. GO!, a behaviourally-optimised brand, campaign and intervention with a clear focus on making it easier for people to embrace the more sustainable, climate-friendly form of transport. At the heart of the campaign was a six-week intervention with free bus tickets, and tailored travel plan guidance and support to help up to 4,000 car commuters become confident bus users.

However, at the point of launch, the coronavirus pandemic and national lockdown enforced a rethink, and offered an unprecedented chance to aim even higher. We worked with Essex CC to rapidly pivot the SSG campaign away from converting car commuters to bus users, towards helping everyone in the County to embrace sustainable, active, and socially-distanced modes of travel like cycling and walking.

In Stop. Swap. GO! we have created a behaviour-based brand, with a simple, punchy and inherently action-oriented name and a fresh and flexible look and feel that encourages people to make positive travel choices. Campaign messaging has multiple functions, including signposting to resources and local partnership campaigns, providing tips and resources, encouraging participation in the 60-day cycling and walking challenge, and sharing inspiring stories from people who have made the swap to more socially-distanced modes of travel. Messaging is being delivered across multiple channels, such as the website, various social media platforms, and the Indeemo mobile ethnography app.

We designed a phased campaign delivery, based on agile iteration and constant improvement. We began with awareness and disruption via the campaign website and a comprehensive (and ongoing) social media campaign. Now in phase two, we’re focusing on live intervention, with people across Essex taking part in the ground-breaking 60 Day Challenge to walk or cycle more, motivated by prizes. The upcoming third phase is widening the focus to encourage 13-19 year olds to walk or cycle to school or college, rather than being dropped off by car. With phase four in Spring 2021 intended to switch the focus back to bus.

Early reporting indicates some excellent results. The campaign has reached over 800,000 Essex residents in its first three months, with more than 550 people already signed-up to the 60 Day Challenge to cycle and walk more, and hundreds using the Indeemo intervention app. This ongoing success is testament to the campaign’s behavioural design foundations, and the agile principles that have allowed us to rapidly evolve Stop. Swap. GO! in response to a world undergoing unprecedented change.