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Concern has been expressed by planners and policy-makers that the “add capacity” strategy used in building more roads to resolve traffic-induced problems is no longer a feasible option. This article explores private transport behavior in understanding how users can be persuaded to adopt a more blended approach (i.e., integrating car, public transportation, and alternative modes on a daily basis). The research methodology adopted focus groups and travel diaries in presenting a number of social marketing message appeals aimed at inducing a change in participants’ travel behaviors. While weaknesses are identified in the social marketing materials, this research concludes that social marketing as a stand-alone intervention program is not capable of persuading people to alter their overdependency on car use. Nonetheless, participants did acknowledge that the messages were informative and helpful in educating them on transportation issues. The research suggests that social marketing programs could be of value as information instruments in support of transportation demand management (TDM) policies. Such programs can function as an effective channel of communication in building dialog and garnering wider public support of demand management policy and in delivering important transportation messages directly to commuters.


Originally published:

McGovern, Enda. “Social Marketing Applications and Transportation Demand Management.” Journal of Public Transportation 8.5 (2005): 1-24.

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