A police robot moving an illegally parked car to a legal spot? It's a 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗶𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗜𝗻 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗱 case study!👇
In most cities, if you park your car illegally, you can expect to receive a fine. More serious infringements can result in the vehicle being towed.
A video on social media — that I can't verify, but let's pretend it's real — purports to show the police in China adopting a different approach. A BMW that is 'illegally parked' is moved to a legal parking spot using a valet robot.
On the face of it, it's a good use of police time. Rather than waiting for a tow truck, officers can move the car to somewhere it won't be in the way.
But that's not the entire problem solved. Because you also want to deter people from parking illegally in the first place. If the punishment for illegally parking is that the police valet park your car, then it could actually encourage it. Unlike towing cars, where the owner has the hassle of going to collect it, this makes life easier for them.
To incentivise compliance, they're going to need to do something else. As UX guru & author of the highly recommended book '𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗛𝘂𝗺𝗮𝗻 𝗘𝘅𝗽𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲', John Sills mused on seeing the video, "𝘔𝘢𝘺𝘣𝘦 𝘪𝘵 𝘮𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘪𝘵, 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘰𝘷𝘦 𝘢𝘯 𝘪𝘴𝘴𝘶𝘦, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘰 𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘢 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘦?"
𝗔 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗶𝘀 𝗮 𝗳𝗲𝗲
The challenge with fines is where to set them.
In my book '𝗛𝘂𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗶𝘇𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗥𝘂𝗹𝗲𝘀' (read the first few chapters for free at www.humanizingrules.com), I highlight situations when '𝘢 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘴 𝘢 𝘧𝘦𝘦'. That's when the convenience of being able to do what you want outweighs the cost of a fine if you break a rule.
There's a famous study in a daycare centre where fines designed to deter parents from turning up late to collect their kids encouraged it by effectively offering cheap childcare. What was supposed to be a fine became a fee.
Of course, the point where that fee becomes too expensive will not be the same for everyone. Which is why some countries set fines for motoring offences by reference to the person's income.
𝗢𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗲𝗰𝗵𝗻𝗶𝗾𝘂𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝘃𝗮𝗶𝗹𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲
What's important to note is that Compliance isn't just a case of writing rules. If we want to be effective, we need to think about how the people whose behaviour we're trying to influence will respond.
Not, as I share in my book, how we would 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 them to respond, but rather how they are 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦𝘭𝘺 to respond.
Before we deploy robots, we need to understand humans.
In a future CITW post, I'll share how another behavioural dynamic is deployed to encourage motorists to comply with rules.
Source: Pareekhjain via Rainmaker1973 on Twitter.