Smartphone-Based Interventions for Sustainable Travel Behavior: The University of Minnesota Parking Contract Holder Study


Yingling Fan, Andy Becker, Galen Ryan, Julian Wolfson, Andrew Guthrie, Chen-Fu Liao

October 2020

Report no. CTS 20-13

Innovative mobility apps have the power to transform the relationship between transportation networks and travelers. Capitalizing on the recent advancement in smartphone technology, this project develops a smartphone-based behavior intervention tool named Daynamica to provide customized, user-centered messages and graphics for promoting travel mode shifts from driving to more sustainable modes. The project tests the effectiveness of the intervention tool among University of Minnesota (UMN) parking contract holders. For each car trip made by a participant, the tool provides a mode shift plan based on the exact trip origin and destination. The tool also provides information describing the environmental impacts of the specific car trip and the personal benefits of switching to the alternative mode. The findings show that although 92 percent of participants are interested in trying alternative modes, in general, when it comes to specific trip considerations, only 36 percent of the car trips are considered reasonable alternative modes. There is ample interest among the most car-dependent population-parking contract holders to explore alternative mode options; however, their interest is tempered by the limited alternative mode offerings in the region. Thus, it is recommended that transportation practitioners and policy makers improve these offerings. Furthermore, this research generates useful data to identify factors influencing mode shifting. Housing ownership, being male, making stops during the trip, and a late departure time for the morning commute are negatively associated with participants' receptiveness toward mode shifting. Finally, the report includes a novel analysis exploring the activity/trip chaining behaviors of the study participants.

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