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Free Report: How Public Education Can Help Reduce Vehicle Emissions, Fuel Use

Mineta Transportation Institute says many people will change driving behavior; fewer will change vehicle maintenance.

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 20, 2012  /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Mineta Transportation Institute ( transweb.sjsu.edu) has released its newest research report, Ecodriving and Carbon Footprinting: Understanding How Public Education Can Result in Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Use, which provides a review and study of ecodriving. The report found that exposure to ecodriving information influenced people's driving behavior and some maintenance practices. While not everyone modifies their behavior after reviewing this information, even small behavioral shifts due to inexpensive information dissemination could be a cost effective way to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. These methods could augment more costly "dynamic ecodriving" approaches, which give continuous feedback through onboard monitoring devices. Principal investigators were Susan A. Shaheen, PhD, Elliot W. Martin, PhD, and Rachel S. Finson, MA. The free report is available for PDF download from transweb.sjsu.edu/project/2808.html.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100318/MTILOGO)

Dr. Shaheen noted that, "Ecodriving is a collection of changes to driving behavior and vehicle maintenance designed to impact fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in existing vehicles. These include driving at the speed limit, keeping tires properly inflated, avoiding unnecessary weight, removing bike and roof racks, and observing other principles. Because of its promise to improve fuel economy within the existing fleet, ecodriving has gained increased attention in North America. One strategy to improve ecodriving is through public education on how to practice it."

The key study areas were:

  • Whether or not travelers will adopt ecodriving practices in response to ecodriving and carbon footprinting information;
  • The extent of greenhouse gas emission and fuel use reductions if the new behaviors are adopted; and
  • How long the modified behavior will persist.

The report offers a literature review of previous work and programs in ecodriving across the world. Researchers also interviewed experts in public relations and public message campaigns to ascertain best practices for public campaigns. The study also completed a set of focus groups evaluating consumer response to a series of websites featuring ecodriving information. Finally, researchers conducted a set of surveys, including a controlled stated-response study assessing the effectiveness of static ecodriving web-based information as well as an intercept clipboard survey in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Surveys showed that people did reduce their driving speeds after exposure to ecodriving information. Study participants also noted that tips about changing their driving behavior were more practical to implement than vehicle maintenance tips.

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