Research Program Area: Economic Analysis
Topic Areas: Benefits
Many air district throughout the country conduct public education programs during the summer ozone season to encourage the public to reduce their driving on days forecast to violate ozone air quality standards. This research project developed a simple, low cost method for quantifying the travel and emission impacts of these programs, often called "Spare the Air" in California. The study developed survey methods and collected comprehensive travel data of a random sample of the general population and of individuals who said they responded to the Spare the Air message. The data, collected over two summer ozone seasons in Sacramento, allowed researchers to compare the travel behavior of the same individuals on both Spare the Air and regular (non-Spare the Air) summer days and of Spare the Air participants and non-participants. The study found a statistically significant difference between the self-reported vehicle trip reductions and measured vehicle trip changes due to Spare the Air programs among the Spare the Air participants. Applying the results of this study with simple and less costly surveys developed by the research team, air districts will be able to adjust future self-reported vehicle trip reductions and extrapolate them to the entire regional population of drivers within an acceptable margin of error.
For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753
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