In Frederikssund Municipality we have several problems related to vandalism on bus shelters. The main problem is that citizens feel insecure whenever a bus shelter has been exposed to vandalism. This is why we are asking for ideas and solutions that can prevent bus shelters from being exposed to vandalism by utilizing behavioral insights.

Rasmus Burvad

Urban Planner, Frederikssund Muncipality

We reward the best idea with 5000 DKK.


In Frederikssund Municipality we are striving to understand the underlying reasons for people’s urge to execute vandalism as it is both costly and make our citizen feel unsafe.

We are aware that the problem contains a certain amount of complexity and may be due to several factors. Therefore, we are looking for hypothesis for what drives the behavior leading to the destruction of the glass wall at bus shelters as well as ideas for behavioral intervention which may help reduce the problem.

Detailed information

Frederikssund Municipality has four main cities which are Frederikssund, Jægerspris, Slangerup and Skibby. In these cities, several bus shelters are made of glass walls. Each city is experiencing problems with the vandalism on bus shelters. In the last 1.5 year there have been 59 cases of vandalism in the municipality. The bus shelters are owned by the company AFA JCDecaux. AFA JCDecaux is one of the main suppliers when it comes to bus shelters in Denmark. The company has made the following observations about vandalism on bus shelters:

  • Prevention (The specific solutions are classified as secret)
    • The use of a special type of electronical monitoring used in exposed places.
    • Physical presence.
  • Media
    • Using the press to expose the amount of vandalism has proved only to be negative.
    • We have experienced that if we speak of vandalism is a big problem for us; the problem get worse as it motivates people to create more vandalism.
    • We have also experienced it with an opposite statement. If we say that the vandalism is not “significant” – there are people who think they must do something to make it “significant”.
    • Overall, our experience with statements to the press does not help the purpose of reducing vandalism.
  • Our solution to the problem
    • We want to solve the problem with fast response times, replacement of broken glass, good maintenance and cleaning of the bus shelters.
  • Deserted areas
    • If the bus shelters are in deserted areas and perhaps not highly illuminated areas the vandalism is more likely to happen.
  • Holidays
    • We see an increase of vandalism in holidays in general. And interestingly in the economically prosperous areas.
  • Nudging
    • Prevention via eg. Nudging has not been tried but it is interesting how it might be able to reduce vandalism.

Map & picture

  • To see a map over where the vandalism in Frederikssund muncipality happens click here.
  • To get a better idea of what the busstops looks like, see the pictures below.
Evaluation criteria

A jury consisting of associate professor at Copenhagen University Marco Piovesan, Senior Behavioral Designer Mads Herskind from /kl.7 & Rasmus Burvad, Urban Planner at Frederikssund Municipality will evaluate the ideas.

The ideas will be judged upon the following criteria:

Analytical strength: How well supported are the idea by the behavioral literature. This is for the jury to estimate how likely your idea is to generate the expected outcome. You do not need to cite academic papers, just link to the place that inspired your idea. This can be web articles, books, a wiki page or youtube video.

TIP Wikipedia offers a great overview of cognitive biases. For a nice graphic version see Buster Benson’s Cheat Sheet.

Ease of implementation: Ideas must represent a reasonable balance between expected savings and investment. The suggested intervention must represent a viable business case. This entails that given the intervention works, savings from reducing resources currently spent on repairing broken glass walls must be able pay for the investment in implementing the solution. Ideas with high potential effect which also involve less cost to implement are generally preferred.

Ease of implementation also include how easy it is to determine the effect of your intervention. Therefore remember to describe how you imagine your hypothesis and idea can be tested.

Tip: The UK Behavioral Insight Team have developed a paper explaining how they use randomized control trials.

Restriction on ideas:

Frederikssund Municipality are not looking for ideas which involves

  1. Change of materials at the busstop as It is not possible to change the glass walls to a material that cannot be broken.
  2. Ideas which are not scaleable
  3. Ideas which only works for a short time period. I.e. solutions with a large but short-term effect will not be assessed positively.
Prizes & competition rules

Based on the evaluation criteria a jury will select 1 winner. The winner receives a prize of 5000 dkk (before tax and VAT). The winner is obligated to report the prize to the relevant tax authorities.

The prize represents payment for the works, which entails that by paying the prize Frederikssund Municipality receives the intellectual property rights to use the idea. If the Municipality decide they would like to work further with elements of several ideas, they will buy the rights to use these ideas as well.

Ideas can both be submitted individually or by teams. In case two ideas are identical, the party who submitted the idea first will be announced as winner.

Questions and extended material for the challenge can be accessed at the Nudge Crowd Slack group. To gain access to the group, sign-up up here.

Deadline for submission of ideas: The 14th of December 2017.

Up-coming community activities

Visualition workshop

14.12.2017 in Copenhagen. Learn the basic principles for graphic visualisation, which you can use to present your ideas.More details & sign up here.

The winning idea

Congratulations to Erin Angell, Hamsa Srikanth and Emily Crabtree for presenting two clever and cost effective ideas for how to reduce vandalism. By adopting a reflective material and place symbol of moral meaning to the bus stop, the team hope to reverse the effect of disengagement, which they hypothesise drive the vandalistic behaviour.

Their winning idea included two variations of an intervention which the team suggested to be tested both separately and combined. This idea was inspired by a study conducted in 2013 by Vincent et al showing that when people are able to morally disengage, they are more likely to experience positive affect and also more likely to behave dishonestly or against a moral conduct.

The team therefore propose two ideas aimed at sparking people’s morality. The first is to cover the outside of the glass with a reflective material since studies show that “a mirror can reverse the effect of disengagement, as a person’s reflection reminds them of their personal values and brings their integrity closer to the forefront of their brain.“

The other was to a add symbol of moral meaning e.g. a danish flag or another moral symbol to the bus stop. This intervention was inspired by a study where students were asked to either recall the names of 10 books they read in high school, or write down the 10 commandments. They were then asked to do a math exercise. The study showed a significant difference between the students who had recalled the 10 commandments and the ones who had recalled the books. The students who recalled the 10 commandments did not cheat at all, and averaged the same test scores as the control group which could not cheat at all (Ariely, 2009). The team noted “there are circumstances and confounds in an experiment that may call into question its validity, but from this study we learn that when people are reminded of morale and integrity, especially when it is tied to patriotism, they are less likely to be dishonest. We believe that we can draw a parallel here to the bus stop, and propose that if people are exposed to the flag, they will be less likely to destroy something with such a valued emblem on it. The flag does not have to be brightly colored, simply a perforated and dull design that still allows people to looks through it.”