Do mobile phone applications foster sustainable mobility?

Last registered on November 28, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Do mobile phone applications foster sustainable mobility?
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008617
Initial registration date
November 24, 2021
Last updated
November 28, 2021, 6:30 PM EST

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Zurich

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2021-04-06
End date
2021-06-09
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial is based on or builds upon one or more prior RCTs.
Abstract
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

Citation
Mayr, Harald. 2021. "Do mobile phone applications foster sustainable mobility?." AEA RCT Registry. November 28. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8617-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
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
2021-04-27
Intervention End Date
2021-05-25

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
Participant
Was the treatment clustered?
No

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.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
ETH Ethics Commission Office
IRB Approval Date
2020-08-31
IRB Approval Number
EK 2020-N-109

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials