smartTrips: Bethel was a success at reducing drive-alone trips – resulting in increases in walking and biking.
During the summer of 2013, the smarttrips: Eugene program came to the east Bethel neighborhood in northwest Eugene. The program was called smarttrips: Bethel and reached 5,355 households with the goal of improving livability by encouraging residents to walk, bike, take transit, and carpool more often. The smarttrips: Eugene program uses personalized information – local bike maps, transit schedules, and more – and fun, supportive events – guided walks, bike rides, and workshops – to encourage residents to try new travel options.
Approximately 10.5% of target area residents, or 564 households, requested smarttrips materials or participated in one of the 15 events. The City of Eugene also added 335 new email contacts to its monthly Transportation Options e-newsletter, InMotion, as a result of the program.
Over the course of the program, the target area saw a considerable increase in walking and bicycling and a related decrease in automobile traffic and air pollution. The program evaluated residents’ shifts in travel behavior using a household travel diary and opinion survey administered before and after the program.
According to survey responses, residents of the smarttrips: Bethel area:
- Reduced their drive-alone trips by a relative 7%
- Increased walking trips by 27%
- Increased bicycling trips by 11%
With respect to mode share, the survey results show a 4.4% reduction in drive-alone mode share, with corresponding increases of 1.8% and 0.4% in walk and bike mode share respectively.
Based on a continuing reduction in drive-alone trips, it can be estimated that residents of this target area will travel nearly 882,000 fewer vehicle miles annually, resulting in a reduction of more than 716,000 pounds of carbon dioxide.
Residents of the Bethel target area also showed strong awareness of and support for walking and biking in Eugene. The vast majority of survey respondents (more than 85%):
- Support the City’s efforts to help residents walk and bike more,
- Would like to reduce their environmental footprint, and
- State that maintaining their health is important to them.
More than two-thirds of respondents would like to drive less, and 67% of post-program respondents say they remember reading, seeing, or hearing information from the City in the last six months about transportation options in their neighborhood. Finally, of those survey respondents who say they are driving less than six months ago, 13% point to access to better information as a cause of the change (as compared to just 5% in the pre-program survey).