There isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy to reduce car usage

Reducing the amount we drive is critical for cutting emissions while also improving health, safety, and transportation system performance. This effort requires both changes in the built environment and individual travel behaviors. The strategies for doing so typically fall into two categories: soft strategies, which focus on incentives and changing attitudes, and hard strategies, which involve infrastructure improvements and new regulations.  

“Dear diary, I took the bus today!” – Cost-efficient travel behavior influencers

“Soft” transportation policy measures can influence a significant reduction in personal car use, according to a new research. Six psychological variables that can affect travel behavior: attitudes; emotions; habits;  social, cultural, and moral norms; knowledge and awareness ; and capability and self-efficacy. The results show that interventions that focus on social, cultural, and moral norms have the most significant effect on travel behavior.

Neighborhood walkability and residential preferences in midsized cities

Many studies have established a significant relationship between walkable neighborhoods and impacts on health and travel behaviors. In the past, most of these studies were based on large metropolitan areas with significant variability in built environment and residential options. A recent study examined relationships between residential preferences, neighborhood walkability, and health implications in a Canadian midsized-city. And, the findings are substantially different from those of similar studies done in large metropolitan areas.

Instant rewards, penalties, and feedback are shown to change driver behavior

A new study shows that tiny financial losses can improve motorists’ compliance with speed limits. The study’s researchers found that the psychology of losing money, even just a few pennies, as well as the instant feedback of seeing the money trickling away, almost completely eliminated speeding. Hybrid drivers often experience the same instant feedback by watching their dashboard mileage monitor in real time. As drivers become more comfortable with continuous monitoring of vehicle operations and instant feedback on their own behavior, both safety and efficiency can be expected to improve.

Transportation needs are changing, but gas price isn’t the major factor, think tank says

Gasoline makes headlines when it reaches $4 per gallon, but this price benchmark has less affect on travel behavior than many assume, according to a new white paper by The Mobility Collaborative. The paper supports a recent SSTI analysis that also cast doubt on the power of gas prices to affect travel demand. VMT growth has flattened in recent years, but that trend correlates more strongly with re-densification of urbanized areas than with fuel prices.

Ecodriving and Carbon Footprinting: Understanding How Public Education Can Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Use (Mineta Transportation Institute, 2012)

Ecodriving is a collection of changes to driving behavior and vehicle maintenance designed to impact fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in existing vehicles. Because of its promise to improve fuel economy within the …