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Dear reader,
this is the second e-update that has been produced together with our cooperation partner, the MAX-project. The theme this time is "Travel Awareness Campaigns".

MAX will be very present at the ECOMM 2009, with trainings on evaluation and "MM and land use planning", and with several presentations. We encoure you to register as soon as possible espcecially as the early registration fee is available until 15 April! Find programme details here.


Developing successful travel awareness campaigns

Photo: Barack Obama campaign

Travel awareness campaigns come about in different shapes and sizes throughout Europe and are at the core of MM. The MAX project aims to determine what exactly makes them successful. Currently, recommendations and guidelines are being developed on how to design a targeted campaign to achieve a change in travel awareness or mobility behaviour.

Since 2006, MAX researched the success factors of travel awareness campaigns in the following fields:


1. Elements of campaign design

In order to determine what elements of the campaign design add to the success of a travel awareness campaign, five best practice campaigns were thoroughly investigated:

Investigations showed success factors are numerous, and vary between each campaign, but some factors can be distinguished as occurring frequently across most or all campaigns and can therefore be considered as key, or specific to certain type of campaigns (perhaps with a specific target audience). The most important factors are summarised as follows:
  1. Clarity of aims and objectives.
  2. Pre-campaign research to gain a deeper understanding of the target audience, the potential barriers and how to deliver the campaign effectively.
  3. Segmentation is a core approach in most campaigns, so targeting of segments and seeking their ownership of the campaign is key.
  4. Branding is equally important to gain awareness from a wider population than the core target audience.
  5. Simplicity of the campaign message is vital to success. This requires pre-testing of a campaign message and feedback from the audience, standing apart from competing messages and using an appropriate medium to engage and build interest.
  6. Stakeholder involvement, including backing from governments and local organizations.
  7. Research and monitoring throughout the process.

Other useful elements of campaign design which were evident include:

  • Frequent personal contact - networking between those working as part of the campaign has greatly improved the effectiveness of the campaign.
  • Highlighting the value of making small changes (such as replacing local car-trips) can help the receiver make the change - easier than when the focus is on a large change (such as getting rid of your car altogether).
  • Encouraging several different options for change (for example, not only bus or train but also cycling or walking).
  • Supportive infrastructural measures and well accessible information increase success of transport campaigns.


2. Targeting decision makers - campaigning the campaign

Investigating the way to convince decision makers and politicians to implement (participating, organizing and/or financing) sustainable transport campaigns was the second step.

European Mobility Week campaigns from Léon (Spain) and Bologna (Italy), the BOB campaign in Belgium (on drunk driving) and the Active for Life campaign (Australia) were analyzed. In a second step, 35 European Mobility Week city coordinators were interviewed. In a third step, the role of cultural differences was researched.

The data collected allowed to define target groups for campaigning-the-campaign and to outline the most common and successful approaches in European Mobility Week cities in convincing these target groups to participate - but also to determine barriers for the success.

Results and recommendations will be presented during the convincing campaigns session (Nr. 4) at the ECOMM 2009


3. Message giver

A third round of investigations was devoted to the so-called message givers, where the aim was to investigate the intention of behavioural change according to:

  • The different types of message giver (celebrity, expert, ordinary people, cartoon, etc.)
  • The nature of the message (positive/negative, rational/emotional, economy/health/environment related)
  • Variations between different countries (cultural differences) and
  • Variations between different market segments e.g. age groups, mobility profile, etc.

To this end, 90 in-depth interviews amongst car users in Italy, Lithuania, Belgium, Estonia and Greece were conducted using stimulus boards (see picture).

Early results show that all of the countries repeatedly stated their liking of realism, "hard facts" and the use of images that they can relate to. Their preference for either the positive or negative arguments was mixed. Final results are being processed and will be published soon.


4. Combining hard measures and travel awareness

A fourth set of research was conducted in order to clarify to what extend a combination of hard and soft measures contributes to the success and effectiveness of a campaign. Two main case studies were analysed:

Results show that the creation of a brand and awareness raising measures have a significant effect when implemented together with the creation of new infrastructure. Experience from Slovenia and Lithuania show that campaigns are effective in raising awareness and use of existing infrastructure. However, a basic level of information (e.g. maps, signage) on the infrastructure is required prior to any specific campaign.

The case studies showed that travel awareness campaigns can be implemented in EU New Member States, if some infrastructure supporting sustainable transport is already in place.


5. Combining education and travel awareness

The added value of educational activities to travel awareness raising was also investigated.

In a first round of research, five campaigns combining travel awareness raising and education were analysed.
  1. Traffic Snake Game (BE)
  2. VERB campaign (US)
  3. Smoke Free Classes (BE)
  4. Het Nieuwe Rijden (NL) (eco-driving campaign)
  5. Bike IT (UK)
Results show that education offers an added value. Social communication should focus on the fun aspects of travel. Its tone should be emotional and positive (game, street events, simulator game etc.). Branding should focus on strong visuals and relate to the language spoken by the target group. Further, the message giver should rather be a champion (a person from the target group already successfully practising practising the new behaviour) than a celebrity. Parents are most often a secondary target group and should be included into the campaign.


All these investigations resulted in the MAX campaign framework (see below) - which will be part of an interactive tool (currently under development) that will be hosted on the EPOMM-website.

campaign framework
lept cedex Austrian Energy Agency
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