Converting an Ozone Action Days Program to a Year-Round Air Quality Program: The New York Experience Presentation at 2007 National Air Quality Conference Michael Grant John Zamurs, New York State DOT
Program Background • An Ozone Action Days (OAD) Program had been in place in the several New York cities since 1997 • Under the direction of the New York State Department of Transportation, in cooperation with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation • Emphasis in New York City metro area • Encouraged actions to reduce air pollution on OADs, and throughout the ozone season • Variable message signs on highways • Outreach to businesses, schools, and other organizations • “Buy a Plant” campaign – Green Your Office • Distributed forecasts of Ozone Action Days to over 600 employers and individuals.
Program Goals New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) committed to enhancing and expanding the New York metropolitan region’s OAD program in order to achieve quantifiable, on-going reductions in motor vehicle emissions.
Conformity Credit • Transportation conformity waiver, Public Law 107-230, signed by President Bush Oct 1, 2002 • Needed after 9/11 attacks • Waives transportation conformity requirements for 3 year period • NYS commits to Congress, USEPA, USDOT, environmental community to study and implement emission control strategies • Analysis shows OAD potential to be cost-effective emission strategy • OAD benefits needed for ozone and PM conformity emission tests
Conformity Credit • NYSDOT worked with MPOs, NYSDEC, EPA, and USDOT to design an enhanced outreach program that qualified for emissions credit in conformity. • Emissions reductions from the enhanced program were incorporated into the region’s conformity determinations for ozone and particulate matter. • Goal to reduce VMT in the New York region year-round through education and public information about the connections between travel choices and air quality. • Emission benefits credited in NYC and Poughkeepsie conformity determinations
Transitioning to Year-Round Program • Phase I (Summer – Fall 2006): Marketing the program under the Ozone NY name • Using existing program logo and web address • Conducting research and surveys to assess public attitudes and awareness of air quality issues and actions taken on OADs • Refocused materials from “Buy a Plant” to focus on desired travel-related actions to improve air quality • Undertook aggressive employer recruitment effort to increase number of employers participating in the Clean Air Network • Phase II (Winter 2006-2007): Developing a new program • Development of an integrated marketing campaign to be launched in early 2007, emphasizing the year-round nature of air quality issues and actions that can be taken.
Phase I (Transition) Results • Dramatically increased employer participation in Clean Air Network • New communications to network • Focusing on transportation actions • Highlighting year-round air quality issues
Phase II Program Development • Renaming the program • Changed notifications • Communications • Developing a mass media campaign consistent with the year-round theme. Air Quality Action Days Ozone Action Days Year-round Ozone season
Marketing Goals • To induce changes in driver behavior resulting in quantifiable motor vehicle emissions reductions in the New York metro area. • To create an air quality ethic among metro New York residents that will encourage behaviors conducive to year-round air pollution reduction. • To raise awareness about the routine actions individuals can take to reduce air pollution. Program messaging and tactics rely heavily on results of program evaluation efforts
Market Research: Awareness • Air Pollution has a Personal Impact • 42% of respondents indicated that at least one member of their household experiences negative health effects due to air pollution • Knowledge Gap • New Yorkers generally aware of air quality as problem, the role of automobile, and want to be part of solution. • Yet 25% of those inclined to take action could not name a single action they could take. • Lack of Message Penetration • Only 24-30% recall hearing or seeing anything, even on or around alert days.
Market Research: Potential Actions • Trip Chaining is an Easy Action • Combining tripswas identified as one of the easiest actions to take • Among the people who took action on alert days, 32% eliminated trips and 27% combined (linked) trips. • Willingness to Try Ridesharing and Transit • 8% indicated that they carpool or vanpool at least once per week; an additional 39% stated that they would consider doing so in the future • More than half (51%) indicated that they currently ride public transit at least once per week; an additional 22% indicated that they would consider doing so
Key Messages • Message Platform Conscious adjustments to your everyday choices, particularly in your daily travel routine, will improve the quality of your life, your community, and the air you breathe. • Proof points to support our claim of better quality of life include: • Health statistics • Traffic congestion statistics • On-going actions • Episodic actions
Integrated Marketing Campaign • Employer Outreach • Outreach by the three New York-area TMAs – CommuterLink, Metropool, and Long Island Transportation Management • Partnerships • Developing partnerships to support the program with in-kind donations and public support for our mission. • Public Outreach • Mass media campaign, including radio, outdoor and online advertising • Direct outreach mechanisms, including a Web site, public relations, events, promotional items, informational pamphlets and other materials.
Lessons to Date • Establish clear goals and objectives, and evaluation methods • Outcomes: measured through surveys • Output measures: participating employers, individuals, partners, web hits • Working collaboratively • Many partners involved: NYSDOT headquarters and regions, commuter organizations, health agencies, NYCDOT More to come!!!