Change to Walking program

The Change to Walking program, delivered in 2016 by Victoria Walks in partnership with VicHealth, sought to apply behavioural insights approaches to determine if ‘nudge’ strategies would prompt increases in walking for short trips. A ‘nudge’ approach uses targeted prompts and incentives to encourage walking, rather than mandating change or constraining choice.

During projects spanning one to three months, in five different areas, more than 1,000 people were stimulated to change their behaviour and walk more.

Victoria Walks and VicHealth supported projects delivered by five local councils:

  • Bendigo: The ‘One Day in 5 – Escape the Drive’ project encouraged residents in the growing urban-fringe suburbs of Epsom and Ascot to leave the car at home one day each week, and instead walk and use public transport to travel into town.
  • Darebin: The ‘Step Out Reservoir’ project encouraged people to walk short trips to the centre rather than travelling by car. It targeted groups regularly visiting the Reservoir Community and Learning Centre and Reservoir Library, particularly families with young children.
  • Geelong: The ‘Change to Walking – Park and Walk Challenge’ was designed to encourage employees of participating workplaces to park at least 1km or a 10 minute walk from their place of work.
  • Warrnambool: A partnership with St Joseph’s Primary School engaged parents of children 8 years and older to allow their children to walk to and from school for at least 3 trips a week. The project encouraged parents to share their personal experiences of active travel to school when they were children themselves and build confidence in allowing their children to travel independently.
  • Yarra Ranges: ‘Free Range Kids’ aimed to increase children’s walking to and from school with the ultimate goal to increase children’s independent mobility within their community. The project was primarily delivered in class, and designed with children as the lead change agents.

Change to Walking reports

Victoria Walks has published two reports as a result of the program:

  1. The report Change to Walking: using 'nudge' interventions to get more people walking summarises the actions and outcomes of the Change to Walking Program.

  2. Lessons from other behaviour change projects are summarised in the background report Applying nudge theory to walking: Designing behavioural interventions to promote walking.