A: First, there is no single action that will reduce congestion. Rather, we need a multi- faceted approach. Drive Less/Save More is part of the overall solution. It works to increase public awareness about transportation choices, especially trip chaining, to reduce car trips. More than half of the car trips made by people today are not work related. The goal of this campaign is to get people to use travel options and encourage drivers to trip chain. This can translate to better traffic flow and more efficient use of our transportation system. Simply put, fewer trips mean better traffic flow.
A: Research has shown that the first step to individual behavior change is awareness and knowledge. Then, individuals start thinking about how behaviors may personally apply to them. The next step is to try the behavior. That’s the goal of Drive Less/Save More. It works to increase public awareness of transportation choices, especially trip chaining. These sorts of campaigns are proven to work. Consider the efforts to reduce cigarette smoking. Here in Oregon, sustained social marketing initiatives have dramatically reduced smoking rates. Since the anti-tobacco program began in 1997, there has been a 42 percent decline in per capita cigarette consumption. More people and businesses are recycling in Oregon today as a direct result of sustained public awareness efforts. The use of paid media is an important part of an effective campaign because it reaches a lot of people. It is a highly effective way to increase awareness and inform the public.
A: Yes. Drive Less/Save More has achieved measurable results in changing personal travel behavior in the Portland metro area. Nearly 19 percent of the Portland population - more than 222,000 individuals - have reduced car trips as a result of the campaign. That’s a reduction of an estimated 21.8 million vehicle road miles and about 10,700 tons of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
A: Drive Less/Save More was launched in 2006 as a pilot project in the Portland area. Fueled by its success, the campaign has expanded into Bend, Eugene/Springfield, Medford and Salem.
A: A campaign that helps drivers save money at the gas pump and time on the road, while improving traffic flow, is a good investment.
A: Traffic congestion now costs Portland-area residents hundreds of millions of dollars a year in wasted time and wasted fuel. It reduces our quality of life and hurts our local economy. We simply cannot ignore the problems caused by congestion. It’s important to note that this campaign is funded with federal transportation dollars that are earmarked for transportation purposes. We don’t have the option of spending the funds on other priorities. It is estimated that by 2025 we will be spending an additional 50 hours in traffic per year as our population and, consequently, congestion grows. Vehicle traffic is projected to grow by about 45 percent, and truck traffic will increase by 120 percent.
A: While roads are also part of the solution, it’s important to remember that it is the policy of the state to reduce reliance on the automobile. Roadway expansion is unlikely to succeed as the only approach to relieving congestion. Roads are costly to build, and the public is unlikely to pass the large tax increases necessary to add the lane-miles required to keep up with growing travel demand. In fact, only five of 75 urban areas in the U.S. have been able to keep the difference between traffic growth and the addition of lane-miles to less than 10 percent.
Lane-miles simply cannot be added easily and quickly enough to match growth in passenger and freight travel. Expanding one mile of a typical two-lane road to five lanes would require about five acres of land to be converted to public right-of-way, displacing any homes and businesses in that area. We need a multi-faceted approach to congestion that involves a combination of roadway improvements and other complimentary “demand-side” strategies that will make our existing transportation infrastructure work better.