Developing system-oriented interventions and policies to reduce car dependency for improved population health in Belfast: Study protocol

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Reducing car dependency requires orchestrated multi-sectoral, multi-policy action in a complex landscape. Thus, development of proposed interventions to reduce car dependency should be informed by systems thinking, complexity science, and socio-technical transition theory. We aim to co-design sustainable systems-oriented intervention approaches to reduce car dependency in Belfast. The study includes seven integrated tasks—1: Map stakeholders and partnerships influencing car dependency using stakeholder network analysis; 2: A review of systematic reviews regarding interventions to reduce car dependency; 3: Map-related policies via analysis of policy documents and semi-structured interviews; 4: A participatory group model building workshop to co-produce a shared understanding of the complex system perpetuating car dependency and a transition vision; 5: Using Discrete Choice Experiments, survey road users to evaluate the importance of transport infrastructure attributes on car dependency and on alternative modes of travel; 6: Citizen juries will ‘sense-check’ possible actions; and, 7: Stakeholders will interpret the findings, plan orchestrated multi-sectoral action, and agree on ways to sustain collaborations towards the common vision of reducing car dependency. We expect to attain a systemic view of the car dependency issue, potential
intervention approaches to reduce it, and a framework for their integration through the co-ordination of stakeholder actions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number62
Issue number3
Early online date12 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: The study is funded by a grant from the MRC Public Health Intervention Development (PHIND) scheme (MR/V00378X/1). We also acknowledge funding from the HSC Research and Development Office Northern Ireland. The funding body has no role in the design of the study and collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and in writing the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • systems science
  • car dependency
  • public health
  • complexity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management


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