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European Campaign on Improving Driving Behaviour, Energy Efficiency and Traffic Safety

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Environmental/Emissions aspects
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

Showing car and truck drivers how to drive their vehicle in safe and fuel-saving ways is cost-effective, easy to achieve and leads quickly to solid environmental improvements, namely substantial contributions to Kyoto and air quality targets. Yet, whilst ecodriving forms part of climate change policies in some European countries (Austria, Spain, Netherlands) most governments failed to make more use of this effective measure so far.

Several national energy agencies have therefore joined forces in the ECODRIVEN project, a synchronised European-wide campaign to bring the potential and benefits of ecodriving to the attention of passenger car, van, lorry and bus drivers, and policy makers in 9 EU countries.


The overall campaign objectives are as follows:

  •  To stimulate at least 2,500,000 drivers of passenger cars, delivery vans, lorries and buses in 9 EU countries to drive in a safer and more energy-efficient manner;
  • To avoid, until 2010, 0.5 Mtons of CO2 emissions , as well as significant amounts of other emissions deriving from road transport (e.g. NOx and particulates);
  • To establish a European-wide network of local and regional collaborations between local actors, relevant local departments and outlets of national and international companies and organisations.

According to the project workplan, the campaign itself will last for one year (between 2007 and 2008). The rest of the time will be used for the preparation, monitoring, and evaluation of the campaign activities and their impacts.

During the campaigning period, end-users will be regularly informed about ecodriving activities within their familiar social environment, which will stimulate them to reflect on and optimise their driving behaviour in a safe and energy-efficient manner.

To achieve this, in each country, the campaign activities will be organised in collaboration with car dealers, fuel stations, touring club consumer stores, drivers' associations and driving schools as well as local actors such as municipalities, SMEs and hauliers.

In addition to the common campaign format, specific local collaborations in each country may be used to reinforce the common campaign messages.

For this reason, each participating country may use country-specific campaigning activities, tailored to different national audiences, and depending on their current level of ecodriving implementation.

The consortium is also assisted by an Implementing Expert Committee to which the representatives of multinational and umbrella organisations and associations from the automative industry and the transport sector are nominated. The committee serves as an advisory and supporting body and supports the development and implementation of the campaigning activities and materials.


Parent Programmes
Type of funding
Public (EU)



Whilst the techniques under the heading ‘eco-driving’ are presented in slightly different ways according to the country and the target group, the essential principles are as follows:

1. Smooth, consistent driving, looking far ahead and avoiding unnecessary braking and stops.

2. Changing gears at relatively low rpms and driving in the highest gear possible.

The general assumption is that it is easier to train learner drivers to drive in an environmentally-aware way than it is to ‘un-train’ experienced drivers who have learned to drive differently and who have driven that way ever since.

Once novice drivers have accumulated more driving experience, they are likely to be in a better position to anticipate traffic, self-evaluate and to learn and apply more eco-driving techniques.

Overall, the introduction of eco-driving requirements in training and the test requires a comprehensive package of training and communication measures involving all eco-driving partners: examiners, instructors, candidates and accompanying persons. Training for instructors, for example, can include the theory of eco-driving and the broader impact of transport on the environment, practice of eco-driving28, the legal framework and how best to teach it to learner drivers. Based on experience, some resistance from instructors towards the new driving style is to be expected, but such resistance can be countered during training. Insufficient training and/or communication, lack of clarity of the basic goals and poor coordination with regard to the timing of the actions can undermine the success of the measure. For instance, some countries are concerned that driving examiners will either be under-enthusiastic about eco-driving (due to their traditional focus on safety aspects alone) or over-enthusiastic in applying the new criteria, thereby possibly leading to a higher failure rate than would otherwise be the case.

Policy implications

Recomendations made by the project are:

  • Some eco-driving facts and techniques should feature in the training and testing of learner and novice drivers. It is not only less damaging to the environment but is also the way to drive modern cars.
  • Eco-driving should be marketed to youngsters in an attractive way; cool driving, hi-tech driving, economical driving, etc.
  • The techniques which are taught should be specially designed for learner drivers (providing the best possible return in terms of environmental benefits but avoiding techniques and messages which could increase accident risk). Trip planning is an important driving skill which is related to eco-driving and thus should also be taught.
  • Safe driving should take precedence over eco-driving, should any conflict arise between the two
  • In-car devices should be used in training in order to reinforce the eco-message (e.g. fuel consumption monitors such as the Econen or MD/eco)
  • The broader issues of transport and the environment could also be included in training, such as choice of alternative transport modes
  • Countries must decide for themselves whether or not a safe driving performance in the driving test can lead to failure solely because of poor eco-driving techniques
  • Ensure a clear, well-timed and comprehensive information, training and communications package for all eco-partners: learners, instructors, accompanying persons and examiners, ideally in parallel with a public discussion. Bear in mind that both initial and ongoing training in this area is likely to be needed.









Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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