Driving less for better air: Impacts of a public information campaign
AbstractIn the wake of the 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act, localities across the United States initiated public information campaigns both to raise awareness of threats to air quality and to change behavior related to air pollution by recommending specific behavioral changes in the campaign messages. These campaigns are designed to reduce the health hazards associated with poor air quality and to avoid federal sanctions resulting from the failure to meet air quality standards. As in many other communities across the country, a coalition of government agencies and businesses initiated a public information campaign in the Atlanta metropolitan region to reduce certain targeted behaviors, mainly driving. A two-stage model used to analyze data from a rolling sample survey shows that the centerpiece of the information campaign-air quality alerts-was effective in raising awareness and reducing driving in a segment of the population. When the overall information campaign was moderated by employers' participation in programs to improve air quality, drivers significantly reduced the number of miles they drove and the number of trips they took by car on days when air quality alerts were sounded. Public information campaigns can be successful in increasing awareness, but changing well-established behaviors, such as driving, is likely to require institutional mediation to provide social contexts that support the behavioral change, as well. © 2003 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.
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Volume (Year): 22 (2003)
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