Transportation Resources

Around the world, professionals are working to reshape transportation systems and make them more sustainable. Technologies such as more efficient cars and cleaner fuels can help, but the reality is that we need to focus on changing individual behaviour in two key ways:

  • increasing the use of non-driving travel modes like walking, cycling, public transit, carpooling and teleworking; and
  • making individuals' car use more efficient including their decisions about what car to buy, when and where to drive their car, and how to operate and maintain it.  More 
 

Latest News

Dec. 1, 2022 | Two New Landmark Case Studies Designated
Our sustainable transportation peer review and selection panel has designated two new Landmark case studies: "How Copenhagen Became a Cycling City" and "Paris Reduces Car Use, Boosts Walking and Cycling." You can find them in the left-hand column below. Landmark designation recognizes behavior change approaches and programs considered to be among the most successful, innovative, replicable and adaptable in the world.
January 19 , 2022 | Two New Landmark Case Studies Posted
Our transportation peer review and selection panel designated two Landmark case studies this past year: TDM at Seattle Children's Hospital and Virgin Atlantic's Airline Captains Improve Fuel Efficiency. Access them using the left hand column below. Landmark designation recognizes behavior change approaches and programs considered to be among the most successful, innovative, replicable and adaptable in the world.

Most Recent Transportation Case Studies

Landmark Case Study How Copenhagen Became a Cycling City  EnvironmentHealthSafety

What makes a great cycling city? How did the medium-sized City of Copenhagen get its citizens to cycle to work / school 49% of the time? While topography and climate are significant influencers, safety, supportive infrastructure, and promotion also played key roles. Copenhagen increased cycling by making it safer, easier, and more convenient. This case illustrates the power of piloting alternative enhancements on an ongoing basis to further reduce barriers and increase benefits, based on regular surveys, traffic data and safety data. It also features a transparent planning process - the Bicycle Account – a research, evaluation, promotion, and citizen engagement tool that was used thirteen times from 1996 to 2018. Designated a Landmark case study by our Transportation peer selection panel in 2022.

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Landmark Case Study Paris Reduces Car Use, Boosts Walking and Cycling  EnvironmentHealthSafety

Paris is an inspiration for large cities around the world, having reduced car traffic in its core (Ile de France) from a mode share of 12.8% in 2010 to 6% in 2020. How did Paris get to be one of the cities in the world with the lowest mode share for single occupant vehicles? The city is comparatively dense and has one of the top subways in the world. But what is most striking about its transformation is the increase in cycling and walking during this period – they increased from 55.4% in 2010 to 68% in 2020. Changing the transportation habits of so many people has involved the introduction of numerous programs offered by three levels of government. These changes have explicitly prioritized bicycles over cars on the island and reduced onstreet car parking to make room for bike lanes. They have also taxed and restricted more polluting vehicles, and gradually phased them out, while providing a conversion bonus for the purchase or lease of electric-assisted bicycles and cargo bikes. In addition, car ads had to include messages promoting greener methods of transportation, and incentives were provided for bike repairs and tune-ups. Paris’ mayor Hidalgo championed plans for a ‘15-minute city’, where everyone could meet most, if not all, of their needs within a short walk or bike ride from home. Designated a Landmark case study by our sustainable transportation peer review and selection panel in 2022.

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Carpooling and Vanpooling in San Mateo County, California  Environment

This program used advertising (online, video, and display), challenges, and prize-based campaigns to attract and retain its target audience. It also made its standard Guaranteed Ride Home system easier to use. This case study illustrates the timing of incentives to promote habit formation. It also exemplifies how benefits can be increased by integrating some of the participant-facing aspects of multiple, independent programs in neighboring regions.Over about six months from the Fall of 2018 to Spring 2019, Commute.org's Carpool 2.0 program led to a quadrupling of carpools logged in San Mateo County through its Star commuter platform each month, from 6,400 in to nearly 30,000. Between October 2018 and December 2019, the program rewarded 1,961 carpoolers, making 218,453 one-way trips, travelling 4,708,310 miles, and saving $1,325,860. About 40% of program participants drove alone before the program, and 33% reported costs savings as their top motivation to carpool. There was an associated reduction of 955 tons of CO2 emissions (about 819 tons per year.)

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Smart Trips Austin  Environment

Smart Trips Austin encourages residents of Austin Texas, USA to take multi-modal transportation options (walk, bike, ride transit, and share rides) more often, rather than drive alone. The program focuses on personal interactions — educating individuals on their options and overcoming barriers to multi-modal travel. Smart Trips reinforces this new information using community-based programs such as learn-to-ride classes, transit instruction, and group walking activities. Initially, the program targeted residential neighbourhoods of Austin Texas; each year a different area was targeted. In 2020 the program expanded to city-wide and began to segment using a Stages of Change approach. In 2021, it started targeting residents who had recently moved to or around Austin. Smart Trips Austin averaged a participation rate of 5-10% of households contacted, a 5-10% reduction in drive-alone trips among participants (about 41,000 vehicle trips per year), and a corresponding 5-10% increase in active and shared trips.

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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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Landmark Case Study TDM at Seattle Children’s Hospital  Environment

Seattle Children’s Hospital has operated a widely recognized trip reduction program since 1995. This program is an early and successful example of providing drivers with cash incentives to offset losing free parking (“parking cash out”). It is also one of the few ongoing examples of a program that pays people if they take a non-SOV way to work. Between 1995 and 2017, the percentage of employees who drive to work alone dropped from 73% to 33%. Further, the program’s commuting perks have helped attract & retain quality employees, and the program has enabled the hospital to avoid spending $20 million to build new parking facilities. Designated a Landmark (best practice) 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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Way to Go Durham  Environment

This case study covers the formative research and pilot testing of the City of Durham’s Way to Go program with City staff and local university students. It illustrates the value of A/B testing and Randomized Control Trials for evaluating alternative program tactics. It exemplifies the effective use of personalized commute plans distributed en-masse and shows that they can have a substantial impact on travel behavior, even with no added incentives.

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BART Perks 2  Environment

BART Perks Phase II used a Smartphone-based platform to incentivize shifts in public transit trips that reduced peak demand. The approach proved cost-effective relative to the average fare associated with each freed-up seat. At full-scale, the approach was predicted to be cost-effective relative to purchasing and maintaining more transit cars. This six-month randomized control study took place in San Francisco during the first half of 2019.

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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 Bologna’s Bella Mossa  EnvironmentHealth

Bologna’s Bella Mossa program awarded participants points for walking, cycling or using public transport. Points could be redeemed for discounts or payment towards merchandise and services from 85 retailers, including supermarkets, sports retailers, bike stores, opticians, bookshops, cinemas, restaurants and bars. In 2018, 10,000 people reported taking 995,000 trips by alternative transportation methods, totalling 3.7 million kilometres and saving 711 tonnes of CO2. The program won CIVITAS’s “Bold Measure" award in 2017 and was designated a Landmark case study in 2019.

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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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Most Recent Transportation Resources

Combination of Walkability and Greenery Boosts Activity Levels  EnvironmentHealth

People are most physically active when their environments are both highly walkable and very green, according to a study by Marquet et al (2022), published in Environment International. 

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Strategies for Engaging Parents in Active School Travel  EnvironmentHealthSafety

Parents and caregivers play a key role in determining if a child will walk or wheel to school. This report summarizes barriers and strategies for better engaging parents and caregivers, related to active school travel.

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Who Doesn't Mind Waiting? Examining the relationships between waiting attitudes and person- and travel-related attributes  EnvironmentHealthSafety

Longer commute times and distances are correlated with negative attitudes toward waiting, while commuters with pro-transit, pro-density, and pro-active transportation attitudes tend to have positive attitudes toward waiting. Additionally, those with preferences for multitasking in general or at their jobs can tolerate waiting better. (California data)

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STEP IT UP! The (U.S.) Surgeon General's call to action to promote walking and walkable communities  EnvironmentHealthSafety

Being physically active is one of the most important steps that Americans of all ages can take to improve their health. But only half of adults and about a quarter of high school students get the amount of physical activity recommended in national guidelines. Step It Up! The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities (2015) aims to get Americans walking and wheelchair rolling for the physical activity needed to help prevent and reduce their risk of chronic diseases and premature death. And it supports positive mental health and healthy aging as well.

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Longer-Lasting Actions and Responses to Extreme Events Can Have Great Impact  Environment

This 2018 paper links climate science and behavioural science, estimates the potential impact of behavioural programs, and predicts the three types of behavioural programs with the largest impact.

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Evidence-Based Intervention in Physical Activity: Lessons from around the world.  EnvironmentHealth

Effective, promising, or emerging physical activity interventions from around the world.

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Changing Transportation Behaviours: A social marketing planning guide  EnvironmentHealth

If you want to influence transportation choices, this planning guide is written for you. You may be working on a very small or large program. This guide has been designed to help you focus on practical first steps and explore additional social marketing considerations. The guide's worksheets walk you through each step, provide quick access to the key questions to ask, and link to associated recommendations for further details.  Also available in French. 

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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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Program Impact Attribution  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This document provides a brief summary of options for assessing what portion of any measured behavior changes resulted from your program and what portion resulted from other influences. These options can also be used to attribute the affects of your program on a wide range of related variables such as resources used, pollutants released, accident rates and health status.

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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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Idle-Free Zone (Vehicle Idling)  EnvironmentHealth

This is the place to go for information and tools related to idling prevention programs. You'll find research, tools and findings, prepared articles, and ready-to-use graphics. A site newsletter provides news, a variety of graphics, presentations and other ideas for your idle-free campaign.

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Guides from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities  Environment

Provides guides, reports, toolkits and videos to help build stronger municipalities, with resources covering Affordable Housing, Energy, Low Carbon, Transportation Land use, Waste, Water, Women in government

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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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Individuals Who Walk at a Brisk or Fast Pace are More Likely to Have a Lower Weight  EnvironmentHealth

This 2015 peer reviewed study finds that individuals who walk at a brisk or fast pace are more likely to have a lower weight when compared to individuals doing other activities.

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Best Workplaces For Commuters  EnvironmentHealth

This site offers extensive case studies, tools, resources and research related to workplace commuting initiatives. The Best Workplaces for Commuters program provides national recognition for qualifying employers in the United States.

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