Case Studies

This section contains case studies of community programs primarily from across North America. It includes a broad sampling of programs to offer a wide variety of approaches and tools used, locations, types of organizations and participants, activities being promoted and problems being addressed. Most of these case studies illustrate approaches that have worked. However, examples of potential pitfalls are also included to provide you with a realistic map of the terrain ahead.

We are actively looking for new case studies with measured impact results. Do you know of any that might make good additions to this site? Please let us know.

All the Case Studies and examples are described in the past tense, including programs that are still operating. If the program is still operating, the Case Study summary is written in the present tense.

Are you looking for case studies in particular topic areas? Please view Topic Resources.

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Norway’s Promotion of Electric Vehicles  Environment

Several policies / incentives, in place over an extended period, have made Norwegians more likely to purchase electric vehicles (EVs) than people in any other country. These incentives have included: exemption from vehicle registration and high purchase taxes, reduced road tolls, free parking, and access to some bus lanes. A similar long-term approach could be adapted for other big-ticket purchasing behaviors where the impact justifies the expense – for example energy-efficient home / building retrofits and appliances. Norway's electric cars are close to zero-emission as 98% of its electricity came from hydropower.

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Climate Matters Program for TV Weathercasters  Environment

Climate Matters trains and supports American TV weathercasters to report on the local impacts of climate change while reflecting current scientific knowledge and concerns. The program provides participating newscasters with weekly story packages with local data and broadcast-quality graphics that visualize the data. Because of an overt conflict in the meteorology community about opposing views of climate change, the program engaged a conflict mediator who worked with small groups of opinion-leading weathercasters to surface and work through the entrenched conflicts. As climate reporting became increasingly normative, the program ensured that everyone in the weathercasting community knew the behaviors were gaining in popularity. As of 31 October 2020, there were 968 participating weathercasters in 483 local TV stations, in 92% of all US media markets and 99 of the top 100 media markets. Viewers exposed to their climate education became more likely to understand that climate change is already a 'here, now, us' problem.

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Canada-Wide Ban on Menthol Cigarettes  Health

Bans on menthol cigarettes across Canada from 2015 to 2017 led to a significant increase in the numbers of smokers who attempted to quit and who quit successfully, while reducing relapse rates among former smokers. Canada was the one of the first countries to implement a ban on menthol cigarettes, and the first country where such a ban was evaluated.

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Landmark Case Study Heat Loss Images, Norm Appeals Raise Impacts in Medicine Hat  Environment

A Randomized Controlled Trial tested the impacts of providing consumers, on their monthly utility bills, with high-resolution infrared images of their houses, information about their heat loss relative to their neighbors, and estimated savings from improving their home’s insulation and air tightness. This treatment was twice as effective as a traditional Home Energy Report (HER) treatment. This demonstrates the power of visual cues that help make the intangible more vivid, concrete, and actionable. This case study also illustrates how norm appeals can backfire when descriptive norms are provided to those who are already doing “better” than most, without also providing an affirming injunctive norm. Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

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Landmark Case Study Seattle’s Just One Trip Phase II  EnvironmentHealth

Just One Trip Phase II illustrates the use of Propensity Modelling / Predictive Analysis, Street Ambassadors, Quality Online User Experience (UX), and trip planning to reduce the proportion of single-occupant car trips in Seattle WA, USA. It engaged over 21,000 people and on average participants reduced four drive-alone trips per week per person. Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

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