Posts Tagged ‘airports’

The employees at the Phoenix airport probably get pretty good customer service ratings

September 2, 2009

Here’s the top of the customer service feedback form for the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport – “America’s Friendliest Airport” (that slogan is trademarked).


Quite a strong prime. To Nudge blog readers who have flown out of Phoenix: Was your experience friendly?

Hat tip: Tom Vanderbilt

Another great place to collect loose change for charity

July 23, 2008

Denver’s program to fight homelessness through parking meters is an excellent nudge because it prompts people to consider donating their spare change at the precise moment when they are already using change to pay for parking. At the web site for Barry Nalebuff and Ian Ayres’ book Why Not? How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big and Small, we came across an unnamed reader’s interesting idea for where else a coins-for-charity nudge could work.

I have always thought it would be ideal if charities would be allowed to put collection boxes near airport screening stations. Every time I approach an airport screening station, Ialways have a pocket full of change. I would much prefer to take that change and drop it into a charity collection box instead of fumbling around with it as I make my way through the metal detectors. The change usually is mixed in with my keys and watch in those little plastic trays they give you and I always drop the change on the floor as I try to collect myself after making it through the metal detector. I believe charities would make more money at these airport screening stations then they would at the counter of 7-11 stores.

Nalebuff himself liked the idea and proposed an extension. “McDonalds could say that they will get rid of the penny and that they will either round to the nearest nickel or roundup and give the extra to charity.”

What the Transportation Security Administration might have known if someone there had read Nudge

June 11, 2008

The U.S. government keeps trying to fix the airport mess. In an effort to speed up congested terminals, the Transportation Safety Administration recently unveiled its plan for 21 airports to split the standard single security line into three “self-select” lines that people can choose between. The lines, modeled after ski slope categories, are for “families and special assistance” (marked in green), the “casual traveler” (in Aspen ice blue), and the “expert traveler” (black like the diamond). According to the New York Times, TSA officials have now learned what Thaler’s business school students know all too well: As humans, most air travelers are overconfident.

Continue reading the post.

Urinals part II

April 25, 2008

Since blogging about fly etchings on the Amsterdam airport urinals, reports of similar “nudging” porcelain fixtures have trickled in. To find out more about other similar urinals (and to see some photos) click here. If you know of others, let us know.

The Amsterdam urinals

April 11, 2008

The recent piece “Easy Does it” about choice architecture in the New Republic by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler opened with the example of bathroom urinals. Bathroom urinals in the Amsterdam airport, more specifically.

As all women who have ever shared a toilet with a man can attest, men can be especially spacey when it comes to their, er, aim. In the privacy of a home, that may be a mere annoyance. But, in a busy airport restroom used by throngs of travelers each day, the unpleasant effects of bad aim can add up rather quickly. Enter an ingenious economist who worked for Schiphol International Airport in Amsterdam. His idea was to etch an image of a black house fly onto the bowls of the airport’s urinals, just to the left of the drain. The result: Spillage declined 80 percent. It turns out that, if you give men a target, they can’t help but aim at it.

Some have wondered what exactly these famous behavior-shaping urinals look like. By popular demand, here they are. Two of them. A wide shot and a close-up. (If you’re at work, use some discretion when viewing these.)