The effect of personal cap-and-trade mileage policies on individual activity-travel patterns: The Activity Locator project

Italo Meloni; Erika Spissu; Chandra Bhat
Transportation Letters 3(4), pp. 293-307

The objective of this work is to contribute to the debate on sustainable policies aimed at reducing personal carbon emissions from the transport sector. The proposed research describes an experiment extending the cap-and-trade system, employed in manufacturing-based emission curb programs, to Voluntary Travel Behavioral Change (VTBC) program. In particular, a VTBC program is proposed that relies on opportune changes in individual activity-travel patterns after observing actual behavior recorded using an innovative device. In this regard, the methodology developed includes: (1) the design of a new behavioral strategy called "Cap and Save" and (2) the implementation of a new device for daily individual activity travel patterns collection called "Activity Locator". The two aspects are closely interrelated, since behavioral strategies are usually difficult to evaluate; indeed, data regarding individual behavior before and after policy intervention are rarely collected. From July to October 2009, both the Activity Locator and the Cap and save were implemented during a two-week survey involving a group of students of the University of Cagliari (Italy). The students' activity-travel behavior over two survey weeks and their feedback on both the Activity Locator device and Cap and save strategy were then analyzed.