Carbon Conscious App Sets Out to Reduce California’s GHGs

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MTI evaluates the effectiveness of a school-based intervention on driving-related carbon emissions using real-time data
October 22, 2019
San José, CA

It is no secret that automobiles are one of the largest contributors to California’s greenhouse gas emissions. Many strategies have been used to reduce driving emissions and new research from the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) explores an innovative approach using an app in combination with an educational program. In Evaluating the Effectiveness of a School-Based Intervention on Driving-Related Carbon Emissions Using Real-Time Transportation Data, MTI researchers Dr. Eugene Cordero and Diana Centeno partnered with Zendrive to track students’ driving behavior over the course of a semester.

Zendrive’s smartphone-based tool monitors and tracks driving behavior such as hard accelerations, hard braking, and time over speed limit. Students who volunteered to participate in the study tracked their driving behavior over the course of a semester while enrolled in an undergraduate course on global climate change. Results indicate that average student’s green driving score improved by 2 to 5% over the course of the semester.

“Providing students with place-based and personal data has been shown to be an effective approach to engage students, and potentially to promote pro-environmental attitudes and behavior,” noted Cordero, Principal Investigator for the research.

Given the results of the data, policy recommendations include further research and funding devoted to study how educational interventions like the one described here can be used to promote pro-environmental driving behaviors in students and their families. Education plays a key role in shaping attitudes and behaviors that support local and national policy goals that respond to existing environmental challenges.


At the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI) at San Jose State University (SJSU) our mission is to increase mobility for all by improving the safety, efficiency, accessibility, and convenience of our nation's’ transportation system. Through research, education, workforce development and technology transfer, we help create a connected world. MTI was founded in 1991 and is funded through the US Departments of Transportation and Homeland Security, the California Department of Transportation, and public and private grants. MTI is affiliated with SJSU’s Lucas College and Graduate School of Business.


Dr. Eugene Cordero is professor in the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science at San Jose State University and founder of the Green Ninja Initiative. Diana Centeno obtained a Master’s degree in from the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science at San Jose State University, where she continues to lecture as an adjunct faculty member.



Irma Garcia, MTI Communications & Workforce Development Coordinator



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