Successful campaigns
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In this e-update we will focus on one of the most well-known and widely-spread tools of mobility management (MM) professionals: campaigns. The TAPESTRY project adopted the following definition of campaigns: "Purposive attempts to inform, persuade, and motivate a population (or sub-group of a population) using organised communication activities through specific channels, with or without other supportive community activities." These can encompass a broad spectrum of activities: from classic travel awareness campaigns in the mass media to reward schemes, trial schemes, branding and communication events.



Travel awareness campaigns

"No ridiculous car trips"-campaign, Malmö

"100 bad excuses"-campaign, Gothenburg

The basic campaign format is the mass media campaign (posters, flyers, television and radio ads…). Mass media is great for broad exposure, but is best suited to reinforce existing behaviour and not to change behaviour or to transfer knowledge. Nowadays, social media cannot be ignored in any communication project. Thanks to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Foursquares and many other online networks, your message can be spread virally and at a very low cost. However, it does take some know-how to make maximum use of these media.

Positive and humoristic messages are more likely to change behaviour than shock campaigns. Two Swedish examples:
  • "No ridiculous car trips"-campaign in Malmö.
    This campaign used unexpected means of advertising such as living cyclists in front of big ad boards; cyclists looping central streets during rush hours; and a “most ridiculous car trip”-confession competition. The people with the most absurd entries won bicycles. By deliberately using unconventional methods and a blend of humour and seriousness of advertising, the campaign was observed by 50 % of Malmö citizens and increased the awareness of the topic. The survey also shows that over 10,000 people have changed their travelling habits thanks to the campaign. Watch a video here.

  • 100 bad excuses for not cycling are taken care of in Gothenburg!
    In 2010, the municipality of Gothenburg asked the citizens through Facebook and a website what bad excuses they had for not cycling. As many as 1600 excuses were sent in. One was from Pär Ljung: he did not cycle because that could destroy his hairstyle. The city then gave Pär a helmet with an funny hairstyle. Pär was only one of 100 persons who got their bad excuses taken care of by the City of Gothenburg. The campaign received a lot of attention: over 10,000 people visited the campaign website, that shows all 100 excuses and their solutions.



Good behaviour deserves a treat


Awareness of mobility issues is not enough – people need to try out new behaviour before they will adopt it. Many campaigns give out free trial tickets or subscriptions. A study from Japan showed that it works. New infrastructure or push-measures such as higher parking prices can also boost the effectiveness of a campaign.

Another formula is to reward wanted behaviour with all kinds of ‘goodies’. Some examples:
  • Bike to work
    Without a doubt, this is one of the most popular reward schemes around Europe. Companies convince their employees to come to work by bike in return for a reward. A lot of case studies can be found on Eltis. In this Cycle to Work manual you can learn from the experiences in Bavaria, Germany. (German version)

  • Bike Experience – Brussels, Belgium
    Cycling in Brussels cities is regarded as a real nightmare to many non-cyclists. That is why the Brussels cyclist associations have already organised 3 editions of Bike Experience. For three days cycle ‘newbies’ are linked to an experienced cyclist who coaches them through the scary Brussels traffic. Then they try out travelling by bike for two weeks. The results are good: in 2011, 81% of the 137 participants said they now use the bicycle to travel through Brussels twice a week or more. 84% had bought a bicycle or were planning on doing so.

  • Rush hour avoidance (Spitsmijden) – The Netherlands
    In the Netherlands, several cities and regions are experimenting with rush hour avoidance projects. Employees receive a financial reward when not travelling during peak hours. In Nijmegen, for instance, all car drivers who were regularly registered on camera taking the heavily congested Waalbrug bridge, received a budget based on the frequency of them taking the bridge. Every time they took the bridge during rush hour, €4 was subtracted from this budget. At the end of the project, the remaining budget was theirs to keep. On average, there were 1316 instances of rush hour avoidance per day, diminishing overall rush hour traffic by 9%. Not only did the participants avoid the Waalbrug bridge during the peak, several of them changed travel mode to go to work. (Evaluation report in Dutch)

  • Traffic Snake Game – Belgium & Europe
    For schools, the Belgian Traffic Snake Game, turns out to be a large success. Children collect stickers on a large banner with a snake on it. They receive a sticker for every time they come to school by bike, on foot or by public transport and get rewarded at the end of the campaign week. Cities interested in implementing the campaign in their schools, can join the network on



The art of persuasion


Influencing people is an art. It helps to know the basic psychological principles underlying behaviour change. See for instance the six key principles of persuasion by Robert Cialdini. But theory alone does not do the trick. The essence of a good campaign is knowing your target group. What are their main drivers and barriers to switch to a more sustainable way of travelling? There is a growing tendency to target only one or a few segments of the target audience. This way, less campaign materials end up in the dustbin unread, and the campaign message can be much better adapted to the particularities of the audience. Find out more in our upcoming e-update on segmentation (Autumn 2012), or on the websites of the EU projects SEGMENT, AD PERSONAM and CARMA.

Some projects have looked into a more ‘emotional’ way of communicating about sustainable mobility, similar to advertisements of the automotive industry – most car ads do not explicitly say that the car is fast, flexible or comfortable, but they suggest feelings of freedom, sexiness and adventure. Look at the Trendy Travel website for examples of ‘emotional campaigning’. One of the major pitfalls of MM projects is that they mostly appeal to people who are already convinced of and use sustainable modes. The Dutch "Rij 2 op 5"-campaign (website in Dutch - "Drive 2 out of 5") is explicitly aimed at car drivers, as the name of the campaign suggests.



Mobility days

Campaigns can also take the form of an event, like Car free days, Bicycle days… Again, Eltis is filled with examples. An event like this is the ideal catalyst to create a buzz on sustainable mobility in the national media and the social media. With a good event website, you can also direct a large number of people to all information that is available in the city on cycling, walking, public transport… For an example of a good integration of news, information and social media, see the website of the Antwerp Cycle Day for Employees (in Dutch).



Where mobility, environment, health and sports meet

It can be useful to think further than the classical mobility or environment angle. The evaluation of a Belgian short trips campaign in the framework of the MAX project showed that the main reason why people participated in the campaign, was to improve their health. Collaborating with the health or sports sector could also have financial benefits. In France, the successful campaign "Bouger 30 minutes par jour, c’est facile !" (website in French - "30 minutes of exercise a day, it’s easy!") was initiated by the national Health Ministry. A big communication campaign with posters and a lovely television ad accompanied the installation of signs for pedestrians were installed in cities throughout the country, expressing the distance to the main points of interest in walking time – e.g. "Town centre – 5 minutes".



Are campaigns effective?


The effectiveness of campaigns remains a very difficult question to answer. EPOMM invites everyone to enter the results of their campaigns and other MM projects in the MAX-Eva database. The more campaigns will be properly evaluated, the more knowledge will be generated on the effectiveness of campaigns. The evaluation should be carefully designed from the start of the project and is closely related to the goals of the campaign. For instance, if you want to make people think about mobility, success is measured by the number of people recalling the campaign and what they remember from it. (Source: Making smarter choices work) If you want to change people’s behaviour, this is hard to measure except for what people claim they do. Results might be disappointing if you do not measure if people have become more positive towards sustainable mobility thanks to the campaign. In other words: your campaign was effective if many people have moved to a further stage of behaviour change, even when not adopting the desired behaviour yet. MAX-Sumo is a very useful tool to design campaigns and other MM projects so that you can gain insight in these different stages of behaviour change. An example of how all MAX products can be used to shape a project can be found in the Italian Ecopassi project (presentation in Italian).

Here are some indications of the effectiveness of campaigns:
  • When the Austrian klima:aktiv mobil programme promoted e-bikes and Pedelecs , their sales went up from about 10,000 in 2009 to 30,000 in 2011 (about 15% of these 30,000 in 2011 have been financially supported by klima:aktiv mobil).
  • The evaluation of the "Kopf an, Motor aus"-campaign ("Head on, engine off") in Germany, suggested that campaigns are a cost-efficient way to save on CO2 emissions. The campaign cost about € 88 per tonne of CO2 saved, while the hybridisation of car engines for instance costs up to € 4500 per tonne of CO2 reduced.
It is important to realise that most of our behaviour is driven by habit, which is difficult to change. Campaigns work best if they target very specific behaviours. And again: know your audience!



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