To improve health and promote active transport a social and individualized marketing campaign was directed at employees aged 17 - 55 from a health care facility in Sydney in 2001 and 2002. The campaign included posters, E-mail ‘newsletters’, events to promote awareness & behaviour change
Background & Objectives
Using active transport that relies less on the use of private cars and more on alternatives such as walking, cycling and public transport has the potential to increase population levels of physical activity and to improve the environment.
Therefore one of the proposed solutions was to reduce private car use by promoting walking, cycling and public transport (which often involves walking or cycling to get there). This is an effective and equitable means of increasing participation in physical activity.
Active transport during the commute to work was promoted as it shows benefits of physical activity, as well as improving the environment. In Australia there have been few promotional campaigns in this field therefore the project concentrated on developing a marketing strategy among employees of health care facility in inner city Sydney. The marketing strategy covered about 300 staff of the Central Sydney Area Health Service and was implemented in their place of work, the Queen Mary Building. The intervention lasted 12 months. First of all three focus groups were used to develop the intervention which combined social and individualized marketing strategies.
The social marketing strategy was aimed at changing the culture of the employees to make them be more aware of and supportive of active transport.>The implementation included dedicated posters, email newsletters, fridge magnets, and a transport guide for the Queens Mary Building. A series of four events were held every 3 months over the 12-month period.
The individualized marketing strategy recognized that transport change across a population was made up of multiple individual decisions and was built up with three stages: First a personal interview, second a transport plan was developed for the journey from home to work. Thirdly, the plan was developed with the participant, with the project worker explaining and discussing their recommendations.
The individualized marketing recognized that transport change across a population was made out of multiple individual decisions and that the intervention had to be tailored to meet these individual and contextualized needs.
Awareness of the term ‘active transport’ increased from 27.5 % to 70.6 %. More positive attitudes towards active transport were observed. There was a significant reduction (20%) in the proportion of staff who reported driving to work 5 days per week. The number of people who intended to use a car to work decreased by 13%. 45% of staff reported the use of active transport as their usual mode of transport to work, an increase from 37%.
With less car use, one expects to see an increase in physical activity levels, as even public transport users have to walk to and from transport stops. The improvements in attitude, knowledge and stage of change also suggest that the intervention was effective in changing some of the factors that may influence travel behaviour.