The psychology of sustainable mobility People’s behaviour patterns are guided by three goals: gain, hedonic and normative. The potential solutions for resolving the conflicts between the three types of goals include making sustainable mobility less threatening for hedonic and gain goal achievement and strengthening normative goals to do the right thing. However, providing hedonic or gain incentives to encourage more sustainable lifestyles may usurp people’s intrinsic motivations. It is said that to affect long-term change the strategy should be to pursue normative goals and keep people believing they are doing the right thing by changing their behaviour. • Strategies such as making sustainable mobility less threatening for hedonic and gain goal achievement and strengthening normative goals to do the right thing are used in sustainable mobility policy.• In terms of effecting long term change the strategy to pursue is keeping normative goals active: people believing they are doing the right thing.• People’s behaviour patterns are guided by three primary goals: hedonic, gain and normative.• Potentially, three different types of behaviour could arise from one situation. How can we better understand and predict the psychological factors that influence our mobility mind-sets; for example in leading to people adopting more sustainable ways of travelling; or more sustainable ways of living in general? The solution to this question lies in the ways we behave ‘normatively’ and ‘hedonically’. Psychologists argue that our behaviour patterns are guided by three primary goals: hedonic, gain and normative goals: Gain goals – individuals focus on whether they gain finances, status and power from a particular way of behaving. Hedonic goals – individuals focus on whether a particular way of behaving would take undue effort, be costly and too difficult for them. So hedonic behaviour only occurs when it is fun, easy and not costly. Normative goals – people should engage in ‘doing the right thing’; the costliness of behaviour is ignored. So given the diversity of these 3 goals, we can foresee 3 different types of behaviour arising from one situation. Resolving the conflicts between these goals is similar to economic choice models in mobility economics, trading of the pros and cons of different behaviours with a psychological rather than economic framework. Two solutions are foreseen to resolve the conflict between the 3 types of goals: Making sustainable mobility less threatening for hedonic and gain goal achievement – making mobility more fun, easy and less costly. Strengthening the normative goals to do the right thing, pushing hedonic and gain goals into the background. We can see both strategies being used in sustainable mobility policy development. For example, let us take initiatives to change behaviour by promoting soft mobility modes or reduced mobility prices: the aim here has been to ‘break the car habit’ and develop positive associations towards using public transport. However, the results in many cases show changes only in the short term. Providing hedonic or gain incentives to get people to change to a more sustainably mobile lifestyle ‘overcrowds’ the intrinsic motivation and has the opposite impact of strengthening the extrinsic motivation to act in a normative way. To achieve longer term changes to encourage safer and more sustainable behaviours, the important strategy to pursue is to keep the normative goals active: people believing they are doing the right thing. The perceived costs and benefits of engaging or not engaging in such behaviour might affect our willingness to take it up. Economists have detailed the diversity of cost items involved in mobility decisions (financial costs, time, effort etc.). A low cost hypothesis would conclude that people will only take up sustainable mobility modes if the perceived costs are low. While people can switch from car to softer modes on short trips, they seem reluctant to forego the comfort and privacy of the car space. Socio-cultural factors also play a role; for example the greater likelihood of taking up cycling in the Netherlands; where it is more normative. Preferred mode of transport is a status symbol for some social groups; particularly car ownership, as private mobility possesses a utilitarian function, but also a self-expressive function. Research has shown that, alongside the functional elements, motives for car driving were symbolic and affective elements – cars are seen as prestige and higher status. In this context, making alternative modes attractive is problematic.