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The Fun Factor of Commuter Behavior

A key tenet of public transit advocates has always been to provide commuters with choices beyond the single-occupant vehicle and also to price the true cost of drive alone travel. Then man the rational economic animal kicks in and theoretically chooses the cheaper, and greener, transit option.

But we all know man isn’t a completely rational actor, taking into account all sorts of intangible inputs, from perceived status to subjective quality. But what about the fun factor?

Portland’s Oregonian points to this experiment in commuter behavior on Stockholm’s metro (tunnelbana, to be precise) a project by automaker Volkswagen no less, where they attempt to woo transit patrons off the escalator and on to the stairs.

As they put it,”’Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator and feel better’ is something we often hear or read in the Sunday papers. Few people actually follow that advice. Can we get more people to take the stairs over the escalator by making it fun to do?”

Ladies and gentlemen, the piano stairs:

Still waiting on the Partridge Family Metrobus.