Clean Air Resources

This section of the site provides quick access to case studies and helpful on-line social marketing resources for those who encourage behaviours that lead to cleaner air. We welcome suggestions for additional case studies and resources.

 

Latest News

May 6, 2021 Four New Case Studies and Three Other New Topic Resources
During the past year, we've added four new clean air case studies plus three other Topic Resources. The case studies, accessible using the left hand column below, include two American municipal program that reduced local car use dramatically, a Norwegian program that enabled it to achieve the highest penetration in the world of near-zero-emission vehicles, and a German opt-out program for greener home energy. The other Topic Resources, accessible using the right hand column below, include a study on the relationships between three types of nature contact and pro-environmental behaviours, a study on the impact of high-profile public advocates in shaping collective efficacy beliefs and motivating collective action, and a study showing that behavioral energy efficiency programs can reduce the same amount of damages from carbon emissions as structural retrofit programs, but in less time and at lower cost.
February, 2021  Health and Crime Impacts
We have known for a while now that outdoor air pollution adversely affects respiratory, cardiovascular, perinatal, and other health outcomes. Globally, such pollution is estimated to be responsible for 3.3 million premature deaths annually. One recent study found evidence of an association between short-term exposure to ambient PM2.5 and the exacerbation of psychiatric disorders (e.g. anxiety and suicidal thoughts) in children as indicated by increases in psychiatric ED visits. Another recent study also found that breathing polluted air is linked to aggressive behaviour and assaults. It estimated that that a 10% reduction in daily PM2.5 and ozone could save $1.4 billion in crime costs per year, a previously overlooked cost associated with pollution. At a cellular level, a new study has shown that even brief air pollution exposures can change the regulation and expression of children's genes and perhaps alter blood pressure, potentially laying the foundation for increased risk of disease later in life.

Most Recent Clean Air Case Studies

Landmark Case Study Virgin Atlantic’s Airline Captains Improve Fuel Efficiency  Environment

Virgin Atlantic Airways (VAA) conducted an eight-month pilot in 2014 to test the potential roles and impacts of monitoring, performance information, personal targets, and prosocial incentives on the fuel-use behavior of their captains. All 335 of VAA’s captains were part of the pilot, and they were randomly assigned to four separate treatment groups. Since the pilot, the approach has become business as usual at VAA, and the technology was commercialized through Signol and updated to a web-app and email rather than post. Designated a Landmark case study in 2021.

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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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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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Landmark Case Study City of Austin’s Leave Time Travel Incentive  EnvironmentHealth

The City of Austin reduced employee commute travel by one million vehicle miles within six months of making its Leave Time Reward (LTR) a permanent incentive. During this period, the percentage of drive-alone trips fell from 53% to 41%. Attribution of these impacts to the City’s time off incentive policy is strengthened because that policy was introduced in the pilot study, then withdrawn after the pilot, then later reintroduced for the permanent program (Reversal Design.) Designated a Landmark case study in 2020.

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Opting Out in Germany for Non-Renewable Energy  Environment

While many people in Germany say they would use green energy if presented with a choice, very few consumers do so. In contrast, most people have been using green energy in a few German municipalities where citizens have had to opt out for non-renewable energy supplies rather than having to opt-in to get renewable ones. This case study presents their experiences and illustrates the value of randomized control trials (RCTs) for measuring program impacts.

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Stay on the Ground  Environment

The most effective approach to-date at shifting air travel to train travel, and also at promoting the sale of carbon offsets for airplane travel, this approach could also work well for other behaviors that are perceived by the audience as clearly important to do, yet are not being adopted by many people.

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Landmark Case Study Capitol Hill In Motion  EnvironmentHealth

Capitol Hill In Motion is a recent evolution of the individualized marketing approach used by King County, Washington State, USA. It illustrates how to further engage communities where most trips are already not drive-alone. With remarkably high signup rates, this campaign also delivered a solid 16% average reduction in drive-alone trips (surpassing the campaign goal and King County’s overall goal of a 10% reduction).  Designated in 2017. 

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Landmark Case Study Chicago’s Go Program  EnvironmentHealth

Chicago’s Go Program is an Individualized Marketing program that helps residents walk, bike, ride transit, and use bike share more frequently, while driving alone less often. Compared with past Individualized Marketing efforts in other cities, the Go Programs have pushed the envelope of inclusive, accessible programming that serves a very broad range of Chicago neighborhoods - and the very high participation rates and positive post-program stakeholder input show that this effort paid off. Because of these successes, the Go Program can serve as a model for other communities looking to integrate equity and diversity in Transportation Demand Management programs. On average, 65% of post-program survey respondents report increased walking, biking, or transit usage because of the program. The program’s behavior-changing results led the City of Chicago to designate funding for additional neighborhoods in the future. Designated in 2017. 

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Clean Air at Home  EnvironmentHealth

"Clean Air at Home: Small Steps Make a Big Difference" is a targeted, community-based social marketing campaign that reduces young families’ exposures to environmental contaminants at home such as mould, dust, fumes from toxic cleaners and tobacco smoke. Almost three in four participants changed some of their behaviors and almost one half reported performing all five of the behaviors being promoted.

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Landmark Case Study ClimateSmart Home Service, Queensland, Australia  Environment

Once a resident signs up for Queensland’s ClimateSmart Home Service, a licensed electrician visits the home, installs a variety of energy-efficiency products, conducts an energy audit, provides recommendations, and leaves behind materials and prompts. The information collected is then used to create a customized plan that is sent to the homeowner approximately six weeks after the visit, with different audience segments receiving different messaging. A voluntary household energy challenge, wireless power monitors and an on-line portal help motivate and empower participants. ClimateSmart was designated a Landmark case study in 2011.

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Commuter Challenge: Environment Canada's Participation  EnvironmentHealth

This case study illustrates the successful engagement of a large organization (Environment Canada) in a broad-scale staff participation program. That program, the Commuter Challenge, is a Canada-wide NGO-led event that challenges commuters to reduce the use of single-occupant vehicles during a specific time frame. It is used as an awareness raising initiative and to promote trial of an activity, not as a scientific auditing or survey tool.

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Århus Bike Bus'ters  EnvironmentHealth

Over a one-year period more than 150 people in the City of Århus, Denmark were actively encouraged to use bicycles or public transit for their daily commute. One of the goals of Bike Busters was to assess the extent to which motorists would switch to sustainable means of transportation.

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Landmark Case Study Casual Carpooling in DC  Environment

It has been said that one of the greatest untapped transportation resources is the empty seats in private automobiles. This case study illustrates how a unique casual carpooling program in Washington, D.C. fills those empty seats while meeting the needs of busy commuters and reducing road congestion. Slugging in D.C. was designated a Landmark case study by Tools of Change in 2009.

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Landmark Case Study Calgary’s Workshift  Environment

WORKshift is Calgary regional initiative to promote, educate and accelerate the adoption of telecommuting. WORKshift works with businesses to implement telework programs for their employees.

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Landmark Case Study BIXI Bicycle Sharing  EnvironmentHealth

BIXI Montreal is a great example of how to make  urban cycling a more practical and attractive transportation option. BIXI makes it convenient for commuters to cycle rather than drive, especially for frequent, short trips. The system was specifically developed to augment Montreal’s existing transit system and between 2009 and 2013 Montrealers made more than 13 million trips with BIXI. It is a turn-key service that is inexpensive and replicable across many countries and cultures. In addition, by making cycling more chic and attractive, BIXI has had a major impact on cycling in North America. Revised in September 2015.

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Most Recent Clean Air Resources

Emissions Disclosure Requirements Lower CO2 Output  Environment

When large power plants were required to disclose their carbon dioxide output, emissions fell by more than 7%, while at some small plants, exempt from disclosure, emissions rose at least 25%. This illustrates the Hawthorne Effect and the power of Norm Appeals.

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Factors Influencing Health Behaviours in response to the Air Quality Health Index  EnvironmentHealth

This research looked at the predictors, motivators and barriers at the individual level, of following and acting on advice provided through the Air Quality Health Index program.

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Talking About Taking Airplanes  Environment

This guide outlines research and tips on talking about airplane trips and climate change. Updated periodically.

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Impact of Comics vs Photographs on Knowledge, Attitude and Behavioural Intentions  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This 2017 study compares two modes of visually presenting information  - one using photographs and the other using cartoons - on audience's knowledge, attitudes and behavioural intentions.

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Fostering a Sustainable Future  EnvironmentSafety

Includes a guide to community-based social marketing, and sections with articles, brief case studies, graphic examples, and an archived listserv.

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CDC Public Health Image Library  EnvironmentHealth

Provides photographs, illustrations and multimedia files, with image collections for environmental health, natural disasters, anatomy, biological sciences, heart health, nutrition, chemicals and drugs, diseases (including AIDS) and organisms.

Most of the images in the collection are in the public domain and are thus free of any copyright restrictions.

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Community Toolbox  EnvironmentHealthSafety

Includes many annotated links to other web-based resources supporting social marketing and social change

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Global Burden of Disease  EnvironmentHealthSafety

A comprehensive picture of what disables and kills people across countries, time, age, and sex. The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) provides a tool to quantify health loss from hundreds of diseases, injuries, and risk factors, so that health systems can be improved and disparities can be eliminated.Collected and analyzed by a consortium of more than 2,300 researchers, the data capture premature death and disability from more than 300 diseases and injuries in 195 countries

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Health-Evidence.ca  EnvironmentHealthSafety

A free, searchable online registry of systematic reviews on the effectiveness of public health and health promotion interventions. The content has been quality rated. Bilingual (English and French).

Topics include: AIDS, environmental health, fitness, injury prevention, nutrition, safety, cycling, walking, water quality

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Is Eco-Friendly Unmanly? The Green-Feminine Stereotype and Its Effect on Sustainable Consumption  Environment

Why are men less likely than women to embrace environmentally friendly products and behaviors? Building on prior findings that men tend to be more concerned than women with gender-identity maintenance, this article argues that this green-feminine stereotype may motivate men to avoid green behaviors in order to preserve a macho image. It also shows that men's inhibitions about engaging in green behavior can be mitigated through masculine affirmation and masculine branding.

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Program Evaluation Methods; Measurement and Attribution of Program Results  EnvironmentHealthSafety

A good, detailed, freely accessible overview of program evaluation and attribution methods.

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National Center for Safe Routes to School  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This site helps community leaders, parents and schools develop programs and strategies that encourage and enable more children to safely walk and bike to school. It offers news, state contacts, a 'how-to' manual, and extensive resources for marketing, engineering, education, evaluation, enforcement, training and program development. Publisher: National Center for Safe Routes to School within the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center

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Nature Contact, Nature Connectedness and Associations with Health, Wellbeing and Pro-Environmental Behaviours  EnvironmentHealth

This 2020 study investigated the relationships between three types of nature contact, psychological connectedness, health, subjective wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviours. It suggests that interventions increasing both contact with, and connection to nature, are likely to be needed in order to achieve synergistic improvements to human and planetary health.

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Collective Efficacy Beliefs and the Greta Thunberg Effect  EnvironmentHealth

This study indicates that high-profile public advocates like Greta Thunberg can shape collective efficacy beliefs and motivate collective action, but their effect is likely stronger among those with a shared political ideology.

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Utility Energy Efficiency Program Performance from a Climate Change Perspective: a comparison of structural and behavioral programs  Environment

Behavioral energy efficiency programs can reduce the same amount of damages from carbon emissions as structural retrofit programs, but in less time and at lower cost. They can  also further boost savings from structural programs.

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