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CityLab
Transportation

Moving to a New Home Can Break Old Habits of Car Commuting

New research builds on an old lesson: To get people using transit, it’s all about timing.
A traffic jam near London's Heathrow Airport.
A traffic jam near London's Heathrow Airport.REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Whether you drive, bike, walk, or take the train, the way you get to work each day is more of an automatic response than it is a conscious choice. So long as other patterns in your life are constant, there’s no signal telling you to ditch your car in favor of the bus—even if you know it’s the cheaper, more environmentally friendly thing to do.

To trigger changes in commute habits, studies have shown, a shift in context is key. For example, as CityLab has previously reported, workers are particularly open to changing up commute habits when their offices relocate—and they’ll stick with them, if their companies hit them up with the right incentives at the right moment.