Dec 16, 2021 • 1HR 8M

Rory Sutherland & Pete Dyson on Transport for Humans

Designing transport systems for human, rather than engineers', consumption

Daniel Ross
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Interviews with the experts, entertainers and academics in the weird, wonderful and creative world of behavioural science.
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Fellow BSers,

Welcome to the Christmas holiday episode of 'A Load of BS: The Behavioural Science Podcast'. This show will be the last of 2021 and we are going out with a bang by welcoming back the inimitable Rory Sutherland and his co-author Pete Dyson to discuss their new book 'Transport for Humans: Are we nearly there yet?'

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And we’re off

Comfort break over, we're back on the road. Now you may have read my Monday BS piece a few weeks ago previewing today's conversation with a little riff on the wonders of the London Underground. Well today you get the full fat version and I can assure you that the cream has risen to the top; in fact it's spilling over and clogging the arteries like the M25 on Boxing Day. What fun!

This anniversary appetizer is bursting with flavour, celebratory abandon and indulgence; and since so many of us will be battling the motorways and trains to reach loved ones in the coming days, what more appropriate treat for today than transport design to keep you toasty.

Having almost exhausted my Christmas and travelling puns, I should introduce my guests. Rory is well-known to many of you as Global Vice-Chairman of Ogilvy, behavioural scientist, founder of the Nudgestock festival, writer, raconteur and the man responsible for making the Sevenoaks to London Blackfriars line fashionable again.

Pete Dyson is the Principal Behavioural Scientist at the Department for Transport. Pete established a new Behavioural Science Team within DfT in April 2020 to tackle the COVID-19 response and recovery, sustainability and the impact of future transport technologies on behaviour. 

And that takes us to our conversation, which is all about the potential of behavioural science to design our transport systems for human, rather than engineers', consumption.

In today's bumper hamper, Rory and Pete tell us about:

  • The fetishization of speed and punctuality

  • Solving the conundrum (waste?) of HS2

  • Who Homo Transporticus is

  • How we actually understand what customers want

  • Getting to Exeter when you're not in a rush

  • Seat backed train tables

  • Products which nobody wants until they own them

  • The Brummie obsession with driving and roads

  • Intelligent rationing of trips into London and other BS experiments

Ladies and Gentlemen, your enjoyment is our primary concern here at 'A Load of BS', so for now, sit back, relax, smoke if you'd like to and geek out in the capable hands of my glorious guests Pete Dyson and Rory Sutherland, and I'll be speaking to you again at the close to remind you to subscribe here and on Apple or Spotify.


See you in 2022 with some amazing guests

Today was my 22nd pod of the series and I hope you'll agree Transport for Humans was a fine way to sign off. Do buy the book as the perfect stocking filler!

Next year, we'll kick off again with interviews with the likes of author and Times columnist David Aaronovitch, comedian and writer on mindfulness and mental wellbeing Ruby Wax, another former comedian and now Head of BS at J.P. Morgan Chase Jeff Kreisler, football broadcaster Guillem Balague talking Pep and Maradona, advertising legend Dave Trott and former lead psychologist at Cambridge Analytica Patrick Fagan.

Do subscribe on your favourite platform (Apple, Spotify), share with friends for Christmas, leave a review and we'll be back together in the New Year. Happy holidays and be well to all of you. 🧑‍🎄

Take your seats for take-off!

Daniel 🎄

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