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Step 5: Design Campaign Approach

Step 5

What activities should be included in your campaign?

Take a look at activities carried out as part of previous idling reduction campaigns for ideas on activities that you can include in your campaign for your specific target audiences and locations. A good place to start is the Idle-Free Zone’s webpage on what other communities are doing.

Many idling reduction campaigns draw on the approaches and tools of Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM).  CBSM uses particular tools to overcome identified barriers to behaviour change.  This approach contrasts to traditional information-out advertising campaigns which are typically less effective in getting people to change their behaviour (like idling less). Key tools used in CBSM – which you could consider as part of your campaign – include:

Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM) tools
CBSM Tool Description Use in Idling Reduction Campaigns
Prompts/Signs Reminders for people to engage in sustainable activities. Vivid “Idle Free” images/messages on:
  • Metal signs at idling hotspots
  • Window decals
  • Air fresheners
  • Key chains
Personal Contact A key lesson from the use of CBSM in idling reduction campaigns is that personal contact is an essential part of eliciting behaviour change – prompts alone are much less effective.
  • Idle-Free “ambassadors” approach drivers to explain how reduced idling could save money, reduce air pollution and GHG emissions.  Can also pass out an information card and window decal (see Step 7)
Communications Use of vivid communication tools with engaging messages and images.
  • Signs used in prompts
  • Newspaper, transit shelter and radio advertising
  • Website and social media
    (See Step 6 for more ideas)
Commitments Individuals commit or pledge to engage in a sustainable activity (like idling less), which research shows will increase the chances they will follow through on that commitment.
  • Idle-Free Ambassadors ask drivers to post a decal or sign a pledge card to reduce idling (see Step 7)
  • Businesses post a commitment card in their store window
Norms The development and spread of community norms that a particular behaviour is the right thing to do.
  • Key community leaders publicly advocate for idling reduction (e.g. Mayor, Councillors)
  • Champions share the message (e.g. from truck driver to truck driver by word of mouth)

The following catalogue is a collection of actions that you may find applicable to include in your campaign.  You can use the catalogue to circle actions you would most like to include in your campaign, or download the Step 5 Campaign Design Planning Worksheet to document your own ideas.

Catalogue of Potential Idling reduction Campaign tool/Actions [PDF 32 KB] [DOC 35 KB]

Catalogue Of Potential Idling Reduction Campaign Tools/Actions
Localized Campaigns
(e.g. schools, workplaces, community arena)
  • Idle-free signs
  • Idling Ambassadors
  • Commitments from drivers
  • Information cards
  • Information mail-outs (e.g. to parents, workplace internal mail)
  • Window decals
  • Idling mascots
  • Posters in high people-traffic areas
  • Newsletter articles (e.g. schools, workplace)
  • “Idle Free Zone” banner at idling hotspots
  • Idling games targeted at school children (e.g. colouring pages, mazes, word games)
  • Lunch and learn workshops to address information gaps
  • Incentive programs (e.g. contests with prizes)
  • Mock idling tickets
Fleet Vehicle Campaigns
(e.g. workplace fleets, municipal fleets)
  • Idle-free signs
  • Demonstration projects to showcase idling reduction and fuel cost savings
  • Stickers on dashboards of all vehicles
  • Friendly competitions – e.g. “fleet challenge” with other businesses, industries in area
  • Driver training
  • Incentives (e.g. space to wait indoors, discount off food and beverages at truck stops, etc.)
  • Idling reduction benefits and information in driver training material
  • Posters in garages and maintenance areas
  • Voluntary guidelines, policies or codes of practice
  • Idling champions to spread the message
  • Rebates
  • Idling monitoring systems installed in vehicles
Widespread Campaigns
(e.g. municipal-wide; transit hubs; gas stations)
  • Idle-free signs
  • Posters
  • Brochures
  • Window decals
  • “Idle-Free Zone” banners and sandwich boards
  • Pledge/commitment cards
  • Rub-on tattoos
  • Air fresheners
  • Materials/booth at local events or farmers markets
  • Electronic messaging on billboards in high traffic areas
  • Idle-free educational material available at driving schools, car dealerships, auto repair shops etc.
  • Idling-reduction tool-kits to businesses in community
  • Broad media campaign – paid radio, newspaper, transit shelter advertisements
  • Idling mascot
  • Media launch with key community leaders
  • Idling Ambassadors to talk to drivers
  • Municipal-wide idling reduction contest with prizes
  • Door-to-door campaign (e.g. rural areas)
  • “Idle Free Action Group”
  • Mock idling tickets
  • Interactive radio call-ins (e.g. name an idling hotspot, get a prize).

Where can you find resources to fund your campaign?

Identify and approach local, provincial and federal funding agencies with your campaign proposal to seek out funding sources.  Think broadly when identifying potential funding agencies, both in terms of type of agency (e.g. government agencies, credit unions, granting foundations, petroleum industry) and agency mandates (e.g. environmental protection, climate change mitigation, improving resource use, health issues, and sustainable development).

Conduct an internet search to identify specific agencies and opportunities in your area, and poll partnering agencies for their advice and experience on obtaining funding.

The following case study from Vancouver illustrates how one municipality designed their idling reduction campaign.  This and other case studies in this guide can help generate ideas as you work through Step 5 (Design Campaign Approach) of your campaign.

Idle Free at YVR (Vancouver's International Airport)
Target Audience: Aircrafts (at gate), Fleet Vehicles, Visitor Vehicles (personal, taxis, bus)
Campaign Components: Signs, Commitments, Incentives, Posters & Meetings, Fleet Renewal

With so many vehicles in operation every day, Vancouver Airport Authority recognized an opportunity to reduce its contribution to idling in Metro Vancouver. Under the direction of a working group, the Airport Authority launched Idle-Free at YVR, a campaign to reduce unnecessary vehicle idling at the airport.
Idle-Free YVR focused on the emissions from ground traffic using a community-based social marketing (CBSM) approach.  It was recognized that plane emissions are not something that can be changed significantly, but CBSM is an effective approach to influence the amount of emissions coming from aircraft emissions at the gate, from fleet vehicles, and from visitor vehicles. The goal of the program was to educate employees, bus and taxi drivers and the public about idling, and to reduce idling frequency and duration for the Airport Authority's vehicle fleet, which includes YVR buses, trucks and emergency vehicles. The program used the following communication tools to achieve its goal:

  • Prompts such as key tags and windshield stickers;
  • Commitment strategies for employees;
  • No-idling signs at drop-off and pick-up areas;
  • Incentives, such as providing discounts for hybrid and fuel efficient taxis on the license they require for accessing the airport;
  • Outreach with taxi companies through meetings and posters in the driver waiting area;
  • Implementing the Airport Authority's vehicle renewal program, which focused on “right-sizing” vehicles for the task; and
  • Purchase of hybrid and electric vehicles.

Some key lessons learned included:

  • It is important to know the limits and unique needs in relation to the operational needs of the fleet. For example, for safety reasons the wildlife officers cannot turn off their vehicles since they may need to move around airside quickly and keep their beacons running;
  • An internal working group is essential to successfully implement an idling reduction program of a large scale. Having experts, such as mechanics, explain technical issues to the audience provided credibility to the campaign; and,
  • Focusing on the health and financial benefits of idling reduction, instead of solely the environment, can be more encouraging to some audiences.

To find out more about the Idle-Free YVR program, visit the YVR website

Step 5 Planning Worksheet and Resources

Step 5 Campaign Design Planning Worksheet [PDF 15 KB] [DOC 31 KB]

Campaign Design Planning Worksheet

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