The development of tools that can measure the efficiency of individual driving behaviors offers unique opportunities to encourage drivers towards more efficient driving behaviors. As states make progress towards reducing carbon emissions through the adoption of renewable energy for electricity generation, transportation remains the largest sources of carbon emissions. Although numerous local or regional campaigns have encouraged consumers to conserve energy at home and at work, less interest has been shown in encouraging drivers to adopt more energy efficient driving behaviors. In this study, a smartphone application was used to gather driving data (e.g., hard accelerations, hard braking and time over speed limit) within a university course on climate change to investigate whether environmental appeals could encourage more efficient driving behavior in students. The results show that through this intervention, average student driving scores improved by between 2 and 5% in the classes studied, with larger changes found in students who did not initially identify as having pro-environmental attitudes. These results suggest that educational programs and campaigns using real-time data on driving behavior may provide opportunities to reduce carbon emissions.
Mineta Transportation Institute
San José State University
210 N. 4th St., 4th Floor
San José, CA 95112
U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology – $69,986.67