Jun 16, 2016

Austrian campaign results in modal shift

22 percent of participants report increasing public transport use

The SmartMove implementing region of Waldviertel-Wachau, Austria, reported promising results, with 22 percent of citizen participants increasing their use of public transport. This helped avoid an estimated three car trips per person and week, which will lead to an annual avoidance of 105 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

These findings were based on interviews with residents who took part in the region’s active mobility consultancy (AMC) campaign. Researchers at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), the leader of the SmartMove project, carried out the campaign.

Waldviertal-Wachau is a rural area northwest of Vienna in the Danube Valley. SmartMove’s campaign there targeted a population served by three specific bus lines. From an initial mailing to 3,452 households, 367 replied and agreed to take part in the campaign. Participants were offered tailored information and guidance about the local bus service, including timetables, bus network maps and information about feeder services linking homes to their nearest bus stops.

In ex post interviews with participants, 91 percent said they learned things about the public transport system in the campaign of which they were previously unaware. Forty-eight percent said they felt motivated to reduce their car use.

The project implementers at BOKU said that the baseline conditions in the area had not changed during the SmartMove timeframe, giving them confidence that the reported increase in bus use was due to the AMC campaign.

In total, the campaign cost EUR 33,653, with nearly half of this being preparatory work, including the gathering of residents’ contact information, setting up of databases and preparation of informational materials.  The effort of contacting people by phone was spread out over time, taking up about 10 hours/week of two people.

BOKU considers results to justify the cost, especially if they could capitalize on initial investments by extending the AMC to neighboring areas or by making another push in the same area to recruit additional participants.