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Encouraging a SWITCH from car-based to active mobility using personalised information and communication technology approaches (SWITCH)

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Car traffic is a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and impacts urban quality of life in many ways. The main objective of the SWITCH project was to reduce GHG-emissions and primary energy consumption by switching car trips to walking and cycling (active modes) for short urban trips. Active modes, like walking and cycling are the basis of healthy, environmentally friendly multimodal travel behaviour with synergies to public transport. The SWITCH-approach used personalised travel planning to encourage people to switch car trips to active modes. The innovation comes from (i) the combination of tried and tested personalised travel planning approaches, (ii) their application to target groups of persons in life changing moments on large scale, (iii) the application of ICT solutions like Smartphone applications and Intelligent Health's Beat the Street system, (iv) and the use of public health arguments to motivate behavioural change. Five local campaigns implemented a SWITCH campaign using a three-step approach: Raise awareness, impart knowledge and motivate behavioural change. An overall process and quantitative output evaluation was integrated in the campaign. A set of training documents, workshops and webinars was developed to stimulate cities outside the consortium to follow the SWITCH-approach.


  • SWITCH campaigns had been implemented in Antwerp, Donostia / San Sebastian, London Hounslow, Gdansk and Vienna. Participants in all campaigns reduced car kilometers and by this greenhouse gas emissions and primary energy consumption.
  • The SWITCH campaign guide and toolbox, incl. an e-learning tool, explain all components of a SWITCH campaign and provide easy to understand step-by-step guidance on how to develop, prepare and implement a locally tailored SWITCH campaign for Follower cities.
  • A template that helps cities to design and prepare SWITCH campaigns and prepare concrete implementation plans; Five local SWITCH campaigns in the implementation cities with more than 11,000 participants; one richly illustrated report on each campaign and one report on all methods used, experiences made, and lessons learnt over all five campaigns
  • The ecological and economic evaluation of five local SWITCH campaigns in terms of quantitative effects on behaviour change and implementation processes documented in five evaluation reports that are the basis for the overall evaluation report
  • Training and take-up activities with guidance and on-site training for Follower cities (national take-up seminars and placements for Follower cities, as well as various activities and materials, like fact sheets on walking, cycling and health for other European cities. E-learning tool accessible via the SWITCH website.

Lessons learned

  • Campaign preparation: Exchange between implementation cities appeared to be very helpful. Extra workshops were conducted in context of regular project meetings. Even if comprehensive guidance on how to design and plan a SWITCH campaign was available, regular conference calls and face-to-face visits appeared to be crucial to address problems, support peer-to-peer learning and finalize the implementation plans.
  • Campaign success: Gamification to ensure the fun factor in the SWITCH campaigns, personal contact with participants as well as the involvement of highly motivated staff were key success factors in all campaigns. Additionally, the distribution of incentives and the provision of lotteries and raffles had positive effects on the awareness of the campaign, and the willingness to participate in the campaigns and the related surveys.
  • Campaign implementation: Crucial for the success of campaigns was the combination of taylored contact and communication channels. It is important to link the campaign with local situations and actions, and to create local partnerships for support. It was advantageous to meet the target persons in their communities and to use social networks, ‘champions’ or ‘ambassadors’ as multiplier. To create ownership with the campaign, to build up campaign communities and to support exchange between participants reduced the barriers of campaign participation and increased the effects.

Partners and coordinator

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Institute for Transport Studies, University of Vienna
Contact point: 
Wiebke Unbehaun
+43 1 47654 5304


Key documents

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In brief

01/06/2014 to 31/05/2016
Contract number: 

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