Ready to ditch your car?

Feedback on and evaluation of the operation “I ditch my old banger” in Grenoble


In late 2017, during several months, over 200 residents of Grenoble took part in the “I ditch my old banger” operation jointly led by the Grenoble public transport authority (SMMAG), the French environmental and energy saving agency (Ademe), the Indiggo company, the University of Grenoble, the local energy and climate agency and other local partners (Métrovélo (bike-rental), Citiz (car-rental), etc.)   

Feedback on and evaluation of the operation

Mobility is a major issue in Grenoble city centre. After the “two months without my car” operation inviting participants to hand over their car keys, SMMAG launched a new programme called “I ditch my old banger” in September 2017 in order to improve air quality by encouraging a reduction in use of the most polluting vehicles. 

The operation was notable for the large-scale personalised guidance scheme developed to meet the needs of every owner of a Crit’Air 4, 5 or unclassified car in the Grenoble area (the Crit’Air sticker on a vehicle windscreen indicates its pollution level based on its year of first registration and the type of fuel used). The initial objective was to get over 1,000 car owners to reduce their car use.

Once registered with the programme, the participants were invited to attend a personalised advice session during which they received guidance to help them choose:

  • One of three levels of commitment:  “I brake”, “I make a break” or “I switch the engine off” ;
  • A mobility services offering to test out public transport, bike-rental or car-rental.

Throughout the operation, the participants were assisted by the same mobility adviser. 

After a one-month test period, the participants met with their adviser to evaluate this first phase and adapt the offering if needed; they could also prolong the experiment by three months. Whilst the first phase of the operation was totally free of charge, for this second phase, the commitment level determined the amount that participants had to pay. 

A final meeting was organised at the end of the programme to get the participants’ general feedback and feelings.

The typical participant’s profile was a Grenoble resident, employed and fairly young, who does not drive much (fewer than 9,000 km/year). Half the participants joined the programme with the aim of using their car less for environmental and economic reasons. 

For the second campaign, to increase the number of participants, the programme base was enlarged to include Crit’Air 3 vehicles (thus doubling the fleet of eligible vehicles) and the communication policy changed to make the visual materials more inviting and less provocative. 

The operation took place in two waves: a first campaign in 2017 and 2018 and a second from April to December 2019. In total, 223 participants joined the programme. This may seem few given the programme’s initial ambitions but for a personalised marketing experiment, it proved to be a success. 

Ultimately, after their last meeting with their mobility adviser, 30 participants actually “ditched” their car and 21 committed to using it less.

Source: evaluation report on the “I ditch my old banger” operation – Indiggo, February 2020

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Publication date

January 11, 2021