Edmonton’s LocalMotion Program
Edmonton’s LocalMotion project encouraged residents to drive less and consider other modes of transportation. LocalMotion used a combination of special community events, a challenge, and opportunities for hands-on experience of alternate modes of transportation. It promoted both flexible working hours and alternative modes of transportation such as walking, cycling, public transit, and carpooling. To further boost word-of-mouth communication and norm appeal, early adopters of ecoMobile practices were recruited to participate in program planning and promote it to their neighbors and to local policy makers. Designated a Landmark case study in 2011.
A case study webinar on LocalMotion was presented by Ian Hosler, City of Edmonton Community Services on Wednesday March 7, 2012. Furter detals will be posted here about six months after the webinar.
Edmonton’s LocalMotion project was a cross-departmental initiative to encourage residents to drive less and consider other modes of transportation. LocalMotion employed community events and a challenge. It specifically focused on shorter, local trips.
The City of Edmonton developed LocalMotion based on a need to mitigate the impacts of automobile traffic, reduce environmental impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality. This demonstration project took various transportation demand management elements and brought them together in a functioning system in one neighbourhood, Parkallen (population 2,090 in 2006).
This cross-departmental initiative was sponsored and funded by the Deputy City Manager’s Office – Environment Branch, and co-sponsored by Community Services. Cross-departmental cooperation was necessary due to the different resources available from each of the departments.
Thirteen City Leagues applied for the project. Parkallen was chosen because it already had at least some interested residents (early adopters) and a “community champion” to help garner interest and excitement. A community steering committee was set up to help plan the project and give input.
Delivering the Program
LocalMotion used a combination of special community events, a challenge, and opportunities for hands-on experience of alternate modes of transportation. It promoted both flexible working hours and alternative modes of transportation such as walking, cycling, public transit, and carpooling. Because interventions were concentrated in a single community, the project became well known locally. To further boost word-of-mouth communication and norm appeal, early adopters of ecoMobile practices were recruited to participate in program planning and promote it to their neighbors and to local policy makers.
Two special events, attended by over 800 people, attracted interest, engaged participants in face-to-face conversations about sustainable transportation options and led them to consider committing to in the challenge. The special events also provided information on sustainable travel options and a time and place for the “LocalMotion Challenge” participants to come pick up their challenge kits.
LocalMotion Challenge participants agreed to track their car kilometres during the month of May (baseline) and then again during the month of June when they had committed to drive less.
One of the two special events, the LocalMotion Launch, included a “Try-It” area where visitors could test out a variety of transportation options: a tandem tricycle, an electric bicycle, assorted bikes and Xooter scooters. Edmonton Transit System exhibited a bus with a bike rack and bike loading races.
The events also included participation from artists, community benefit organizations and local vendors.
Financing the Program
The approximate cost per participating household was $20 (This amount could be decreased depending on the contents of the kits.)
KEY BUDGET AREAS (September 2008 through December 2010):
- Project Coordination & Management: $230,000 (approximately 95K of this was staff time in kind as a cross-departmental initiative)
- Communication, Outreach & establishing the project: $100,000
- Documentation – video shorts and documentary: $80,000
- Measurement & Monitoring: $30,000
Results of the LocalMotion project can be measured in terms of behavior change, market penetration, and environmental benefit.
A random and representative telephone survey was conducted for residents of Parkallen, in three phases: Phase I, before the program launch; Phase II, during the month following program launch; and Phase II, three months after program launch. The following behavior change data are for survey respondents who indicated they were aware of the LocalMotion project:
- Consciously planned trips more efficiently - 42% (Phase II), 55% (Phase III)
- Started to make more eco-friendly transportation choices for local or nearby trips 32% (Phase II), 51% (Phase III).
Additionally, the survey showed that 28% started to walk more, 26% increased bicycle transportation, and 25% increased their use of public transportation.
Regarding market penetration, the same survey indicated that up to 94% of Parkallen residents were aware of the project one month after its inauguration and that community events were attended by 34% of residents. By actual count, 12% of Parkallen residents (270 of 2,256) signed up for the LocalMotion Challenge; this represented 23% of Parkallen households based on the phone survey findings.
Challenge participants reported driving an average of 400 kilometres less per household in June than in April. This represents a decrease in CO2 emissions of approximately 3,979 kg per household. Vehicle volumes at six intersections decreased between 21% and 34% from April to June.
City of Edmonton Community Services Ian.Hosler@edmonton.ca