Case Studies

This section contains case studies of community programs primarily from across North America. It includes a broad sampling of programs to offer a wide variety of approaches and tools used, locations, types of organizations and participants, activities being promoted and problems being addressed. Most of these case studies illustrate approaches that have worked. However, examples of potential pitfalls are also included to provide you with a realistic map of the terrain ahead.

We are actively looking for new case studies with measured impact results. Do you know of any that might make good additions to this site? Please let us know.

All the Case Studies and examples are described in the past tense, including programs that are still operating. If the program is still operating, the Case Study summary is written in the present tense.

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Landmark Case Study Playa Vista Ability2Change  EnvironmentHealth

Playa Vista's Ability2Change program is a great example of a targeted, strategic approach to transport behavior change. It features careful market segmentation and barrier removal, with different initiatives for different people. In just seven months it yielded a 4.9% decrease in peak time drive alone mode share across the entire community (a decrease of 3.5 percentage points from 71.4% to 67.9%), with corresponding increases in carpool, cycling and transit trips. Listen to the program manager and ask questions during our case study webinar on February 24, 2017.

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Landmark Case Study Bikeability Safety Training in the UK  EnvironmentHealthSafety

This large scale bicycle safety training program from the UK has been particularly well evaluated and shows impressive results, adding to the evidence of the value of such trainings. Designated a Landmark case study in 2016.

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Alameda County’s Community Commutes Day  Environment

Community Commutes Day used game-based competition, community based social marketing techniques, crowd-sourced graphic design to save costs, and peer-to-peer information sharing via trained “Clean Commute Champions” to get employees to adopt cleaner commute options.

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Girl Scouts GLEE Program  Environment

The Girls Learning Energy and Environment Program (GLEE) was designed to reduce home energy consumption as well as energy use related to food and transportation, among targeted Junior Girls Scouts (ages 9-10) and their families. It was developed and rigorously evaluated over six years with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy ARPA-e program.

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Landmark Case Study Bonneville Power Administration Energy Smart Industrial Program  Environment

Bonneville Power Administration's Energy Smart Industrial Program has changed how large industrial facilities consider and prioritize energy management. At the leadership level examples of affected behaviors include establishing and communicating energy policies and goals, conducting periodic reviews of energy performance, and including topics in communication with employees. At the operations level the program impacted a broad range of behaviors and practices. Common areas of emphasis included adopting procedures to operate the most efficient equipment under different operating scenarios (e.g. informed scheduling of parallel manufacturing lines), adopting more energy efficient standard operating conditions (e.g. reducing guard bands where possible), and ensuring proper maintenance and calibration of critical gauges (e.g. humidity probes, thermocouples, pressure gauges). Designated a Landmark case study in 2016.

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Landmark Case Study Shower Feedback in Switzerland  Environment

This pilot program provided Swiss households with real-time feedback on one specific, energy-intensive behavior: showering. Participants received smart shower meters that displayed feedback on the individual’s energy and water consumption in the shower in real time. A randomized controlled trial with 697 households in Zurich found that the treatment group who received feedback in real time reduced their energy and water consumption, as well as time spent in the shower by 20-22% over the control group. The effects were stable throughout the two-month study, resulting in average savings of 1.2 kWh per day and household.  This program was designated a Tools of Change Landmark case study in 2016. Listen to the program manager, Verena Tiefenbeck of ETH Zurich, and ask questions during our webinar on March 6, 2017.

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Alameda’s Green Purchasing Program  Environment

This innovative green purchasing program engaged hundreds of event planners and over 18,000 event participants to build a new county culture of sustainable and healthy gatherings in Alameda County, California. In only six weeks, its promotion competition enrolled 192 events and meetings, reaching over 9,200 attendees with model green & healthy practices.

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Landmark Case Study Get Energized, Iowa!  Environment

Get Energized, Iowa! is a highly replicable community-based program that encouraged rural Iowa communities to compete against one another to achieve high gas and electricity savings, based on actual usage. 

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Landmark Case Study King County In Motion  EnvironmentHealth

In Motion participants pledge to shift two drive-alone trips per week to transit, ridesharing, biking or walking. The program uses motivational interviewing, commitments, rewards, engaging materials and norm appeals tailored to each target community. It has been called into action during or in anticipation of major construction, transit restructures or new transit service such as light rail or bus rapid transit. Since creating In Motion in 2004, King County Metro Transit has applied a growing toolkit of community-based social marketing techniques to persuade about 23,000 Seattle-area travelers to drive less. Designated a Landmark case study in 2015.

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Growing Healthy Kids  EnvironmentHealth

This well-documented obesity prevention program pilot for low-income families in Carrboro NC (USA) featured three main components. Weekly work sessions in a community garden provided gardening instruction and practice opportunities and a familiarity with the vegetables. A seven-week workshop series covered cooking and nutrition. Social activities and events built and maintained interest in the garden and fostered interaction between garden members. By the end of their participation in the program, 17% (n=6, p<0.004) of obese or overweight children had improved their BMI classification and 100% of the children with a BMI classification of normal had maintained that BMI classification.

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