Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


2012 Behavior Change for a Sustainable World Conference

Event Details

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Panel #21
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Green Driving: Behavioral Strategies to Help Fleet Operators and Private Citizens Save Fuel
Sunday, August 5, 2012
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Great Hall Meeting Room 1 and 2
Area: CSE; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Ron Van Houten, Ph.D.
Chair: Ron Van Houten (Western Michigan University)
Discussant: William D. Newsome (University of Nevada, Reno), Joshua K. Pritchard (Florida Institute of Technology)
ANDREW CONLEY (Clean Fuels Ohio)

Energy fuels every aspect of economic activity, from production to transportation to consumption. Currently, the global transportation sector is the second largest overall consumer of energy—and nearly all of that energy consumption is in the form of fossil petroleum fuels (EIA, International Energy Outlook 2011). During the past few years, the global market has seen fluctuating oil prices reaching as high as $147/barrel (July, 2008), driving home the transportation sector’s vulnerability to the supply and price of oil. Beyond volatility, the transportation sector’s dependence on fossil petroleum results in nearly a quarter of global carbon emissions (IEA, CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion, 2011).

The convergence of factors such as rising petroleum fuel prices, increased emphasis on environmental health and sustainability, and growing capacity for renewable energy production, has raised interest in alternative fuels and cleaner, more efficient vehicle technologies to an all-time high.These options, however, are only part of the solution. No matter the fuel or technology deployed, a fleet’s business is in its drivers’ hands. Fleet vehicles, public safety, and an organization’s bottom line are all significantly impacted by driver behavior. In fact, as much as 80% of accidents and up to 33% of fleet fuel use is impacted by equipment operator behavior (Green Road, 2012). This session will focus on what fleets and private citizens are doing—and can do better—to ensure driver behavior optimizes the efficiency and environmental performance of vehicles. During this session, Clean Fuels Ohio (CFO) will present on its green fleet management services, which are designed to help organizations craft long-term policies, programs, and best practices for managing high performing, efficient, and cost-effective vehicle fleets. An expanding part of CFO’s work involves Green Driver training programs that focus on how driver behavior can significantly impact vehicle fuel efficiency. This session also will feature presentations from the City of Columbus and Frito-Lay to addressing behavioral opportunities and challenges from the perspective of fleet management.

The session chair and discussants will share their perspectives on the contributions, demonstrated and potential, of behavior analysis to driver efficiency. Audience members will then be invited to contribute their ideas to a discussion exploring ways fleet managers and private citizens can use principles of behavior change to increase green driving. A goal of this session is a systematic collection of ideas that CFO can incorporate into its green driving R&D program.

Conference attendees who plan to participate in this breakout session are asked to add this event to their personal schedules (below) to help with discussion planning.

Ron Van Houten, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology and a member of the behavior analysis faculty at Western Michigan University. He has published research in areas of traffic safety, energy conservation, clinical applications, developmental disabilities and autism, and educational applications of behavior analysis. His recent research has focused on the development of technology to directly change the safety related behavior of drivers. Dr. Van Houten also holds several patents related to his research efforts. His research in the area of pedestrian safety and mobility has resulted in his appointment as chairman of the pedestrian committee of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Funding for Dr. Van Houten’s work has come from grants from the Federal Highway Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Transport Canada, individual Cities, and the Florida Department of Transportation.

William D. Newsome recently completed his Ph.D. in behavior analysis at the University of Nevada, Reno. His dissertation examined the influence of feedback and self-generated rules on efficiency of fleet and civilian drivers. William is a founding member of The Patch, a community gardening cooperative that helps students adopt healthier and more sustainable consumer behavior. His recent publications include commentaries on the application of cooperative principles to promote changes in consumer behavior and theoretical frameworks for studying environmentally friendly behavior.

Joshua K. Pritchard, Ph.D., BCBA-D, is an assistant professor in the Applied Behavior Analysis Program at Florida Institute of Technology. Dr. Pritchard’s research interests include transferring behavioral principles into marketable goods to better quality of life and environmental behavior and the global dissemination of behavior analysis. His paper, Virtual Rewards for Driving Green, was published in The Behavior Analyst (2010).

Andrew Conley, Clean Fuels Ohio program director, has worked with hundreds of fleets across the state to develop vehicle and station projects, conduct fleet emissions and efficiency analyses, draft proposals for competitive funding, and create educational programs and materials including workshops, trainings, and printed informational resources. Conley also has led CFO’s Ohio Green Fleets program since its launch in August 2008, resulting in the active enrollment of more than 200 public and private organizations—all of whom have provided fleet data and begun the process of earning Ohio Green Fleet certification for environmental leadership. To date, 45 fleets have been certified as Ohio Green Fleets. These fleets have displaced a combined total of 5,943,080 gallons of petroleum and eliminated more than 414 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx), 34 tons of particulate matter (PM 2.5), 14.9 tons of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and 81,713 tons of CO2.

Sam Spofforth, Clean Fuels Ohio executive director, has 10 years of direct fleet experience helping fleets adopt technologies, implement projects, and create green fleet-management plans. Spofforth was named the US DOE Clean Cities regional coordinator of the year in 2004, national coordinator of the year in 2007, and adopted into the US DOE Clean Cities Program “Hall of Fame” in 2011. Spofforth also has worked directly with the City of Columbus, the Mayor’s Environmental Steward, and City of Columbus Fleet Management to develop a “Green Fleet Action Plan” adopted by the City in 2008. This plan, which the city continues to implement, has earned Columbus numerous awards and recognition as the 2011 No. 1 Government Green Fleet in America by the 100 Best Fleets Program.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

BACB-certified behavior analysts and licensed psychologists.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to do the following:

1.      Identify best practices for managing high performing, efficient, and cost-effective vehicle fleets.

2.      Describe what fleets and private citizens are doing—and can do better—to ensure driver behavior optimizes the efficiency and environmental performance of vehicles.

3.      Address behavioral opportunities and challenges from the perspective of fleet management.



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Modifed by Eddie Soh