Do mobile phone applications foster sustainable mobility?

Last registered on November 28, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Do mobile phone applications foster sustainable mobility?
Initial registration date
November 24, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
November 28, 2021, 6:30 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

University of Zurich

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial is based on or builds upon one or more prior RCTs.
Mobile phone applications hold promise to foster sustainable mobility behavior, but evaluations of their effectiveness are subject to a number of empirical challenges. We conduct a randomized controlled trial with three distinctive features: unobtrusive tracking of the control group, limited attrition, and a representative sample.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Mayr, Harald. 2021. "Do mobile phone applications foster sustainable mobility?." AEA RCT Registry. November 28.
Experimental Details


In our study, we evaluate the "Swiss Climate Challenge App" (SCC App) in a randomized controlled trial. The SCC App provides graphical feedback on users' personal mobility as well as additional features that rely on moral appeal, social comparison, and goal setting.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Mobility related carbon emissions
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Distances traveled by different modes of transport (car, public transport, bike, walk)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Study participants were recruited to participate in a study on mobility and to continuously use a tracking app for a period of five weeks. The tracking app comes with a plain user interface that shows only whether all necessary permissions are granted. Participants use this plain user interface for a pre-intervention period of one week.

Before the start of the intervention period, we randomly assign participants to the control and treatment group (with 50% probability for each group). The user interface of the treatment group switches to the SCC App for the rest of the study period. The control group remains in the plain user interface, without any mention of sustainability.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
410 participants
Sample size: planned number of observations
410 participants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Control: 198 participants
Treatment: 212 participants
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The study is able to detect a CO2 reduction of 18% (Cohen's d 0.14) at the 5% significance level with 80% power.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
ETH Ethics Commission Office
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
EK 2020-N-109


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials