The City of Ottawa's Individualized Marketing Pilot Project (IMPP) took place between January 2013 and August 2014, and was designed to encourage the use of sustainable transportation options (walking, cycling, carpooling, public transit and car sharing) in and around the Westboro Beach neighbourhood. The directive to implement the pilot project arose from the 2011 Richmond Road / Westboro Transportation Management Implementation Plan (TMIP), and was confirmed in the City's 2012 Transportation Demand Management Strategy. The City of Ottawa retained EnviroCentre and UrbanTrans North America to develop and deliver the project, the first of its kind in Ottawa.
The planning and implementation of the project included consultation and collaboration with the Ward Councillor and the Westboro Beach Community Association, as well as the participation and support of various community stakeholders including:
- Westboro Village Business Improvement Association
- Ottawa Community Housing, Van Lang Tenants' Association, Metropole and Island Park Towers
- OC Transpo & the National Capital Commission
- Churchill Seniors Centre, the All Saints Anglican/First United Church & Bridgeport restaurant.
The pilot project – entitled Westboro Beach on the Move – took place over nineteen months and consisted of three main phases:
- The Baseline Survey and Segmentation phase, which identified baseline travel modes and segmented households into one of four groups based on their likelihood to use sustainable travel modes
- The Information and Motivation phase, which provided households with: targeted resources based on their interests, hand-delivered customized information kits, motivating email newsletters, and four transportation related community events
- The Evaluation phase, where a post-project survey was sent to each household and the data was then analyzed.
Phase 1: Baseline Survey and Segmentation
During the spring of 2013, the IM project team surveyed Westboro Beach neighbourhood residents on the modes of transportation they use in their daily life, how often they use sustainable transportation for all trips, and interest in receiving information about sustainable forms of transportation. The survey data was used as a baseline measurement of travel behaviour for study area residents for comparison against the post-program survey conducted at the end of the project.
The survey was conducted online with residents being offered incentives to encourage their participation. A total of 540 households responded to the pre-program survey out of an estimated household population of 1600, representing a 34 percent response rate. The analysis found that 49 percent of residents walk as a mode of transportation on a daily basis compared to 46 percent who say they drive alone on a daily basis. Of the trips respondents reported, 43 percent were conducted by driving alone.
Phase 2: Information and Motivation
From May 2013 to April 2014, the project team undertook a range of actions to reach out to those residents that were willing to use or currently using sustainable forms of transportation, provide them with the information they require to change their behaviour and then motivate them through incentives to actually make the change. This Phase included:
- The development of the "Westboro Beach on the Move" project identity
- An inventory of transportation informational materials, resources, and incentives available to Westboro Beach residents, and an analysis of the 'gaps' to determine additional materials that should be developed
- The creation of customized "travel kits" with informational materials requested by residents through an online or paper order form
- Promotion and personal deliveries of the "travel kits" to residents
- A Community Transportation Fair to provide an opportunity for residents to ask transportation related questions, pick up "travel kits" and receive personal travel planning advice
- Three events were held in March and April of 2014: an information session for older adults, a bike workshop and a walking tour
Phase 3: Evaluation
To help measure the impact of the project on travel behaviour, a post-program survey of Westboro Beach residents was conducted in the spring of 2014. A total of 456 households responded.
The survey data showed that the IMPP positively affected residents' use of sustainable transportation. Highlights include:
- The data indicated that the drive-alone rate for all residents decreased from 43 per cent of trips to 39 per cent of trips, a nine percent reduction.
- The drop in the drive-alone rate was associated with a 13 per cent increase in carpooling and a 29 per cent increase in cycling.
Extrapolating the survey results across the entire community, it is estimated that residents are traveling 246,000 fewer vehicle kilometres per year, which represents a reduction in annual greenhouse gas emissions of 56,000 kilograms.
Project participants expressed a high degree of satisfaction with the project, and provided feedback on local infrastructure that would further facilitate sustainable transportation use. Stakeholders identified additional side-benefits of the pilot project, including community-building, health benefits, distribution of electronic transit fare cards and fostering collaboration.
The City of Ottawa will consider the results of the Pilot Project and the potential for implementing IM projects in other neighbourhoods as part of the next update to the Transportation Demand Management Strategy.
Robert Grimwood, P.Eng.
Senior Project Manager, Sustainable Transportation
Transportation - Strategic Planning Unit, Planning & Growth Management Department
110 Laurier Ave. West, 4th Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1
613-580-2424 ext. 28757