Social marketing and the built environment: What matters for travel behaviour change?

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, ridership - behaviour, mode - pedestrian, mode - car, mode - bus, land use - impacts, planning - marketing/promotion, planning - surveys, planning - travel demand management, technology - geographic information systems, technology - passenger information


Social marketing, GPS survey, TravelSmart program, Built environment, Walkability


Social marketing and the built environment are two important ‘tools’ to manage travel demand which have had significant attention in the literature separately. Most previous studies evaluating the effects of social marketing programs have relied on pre- and post- surveys, using self-reported measures without any objective measures of travel behaviour change. Further, there is a lack of evidence on whether the effects of the built environment are synergistic when combined with other intervention programs, such as social marketing programs. This study contributes by quantitatively evaluating the relative and combined effects of the TravelSmartand the built environment on travel behaviour using objective GPS measurements. Between 2012 and 2014, daily travel data were collected using GPS equipment in suburbs of inner northern Adelaide, South Australia. Individuals in the households aged over 14 carried a portable GPS device everywhere for a period of 15 days during March–May in each year from 2012 to 2014, providing a total of three waves of panel data. The empirical analysis suggests that the TravelSmart program as a ‘treatment’ significantly reduced the car trips soon after implementation with longer term effects on reducing car trips in high-walkable neighbourhoods. For walking and bus trips, the TravelSmart program increased these 1 year after the ‘treatment’ with stronger effects on travel behaviour change for the participants living in high-walkable neighbourhoods than for those living in low-walkable neighbourhoods.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by SpringerLink, copyright remains with them.