The Power and Value of 'Green' in Promoting Sustainable Travel Behaviors

Seminar Speaker: 
Joan Walker, UC Berkeley
Event Date: 
Friday, November 13, 2009, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PST

The video begins at 4:40.

A major aspect of transportation planning is understanding behavior: how to predict it and how to influence it over the long term. Transportation models typically emphasize policy variables such as travel time and cost. While clearly important, we hypothesize that other variables may be just as influential, namely, variables related to environmental consequences such as greenhouse gas emissions. This work is motivated by several factors. First, there is evidence from behavioral economics in non-transport domains that providing personalized information regarding environmental impact can significantly modify behavior. Second, applications to transport appear to have potential as many studies find that environmental consciousness influences transport behavior. Third, there are a growing number of transportation websites that are reporting environmental savings. Finally, smartphones provide the technological means to provide real-time, person-specific travel information regarding trip times, costs, and environmental impacts. Results from a computer laboratory experiment will be presented, which indicate that providing informing regarding environmental impacts significantly increases sustainable behaviors. Further, the experiments suggest a “value of green” of around 44-84 cents per pound of CO2 savings.