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Evaluation of the National Vehicle Scrappage Program

6.0 Lessons Learned

Final Report

July 12, 2011

As the NVSP has ended, the focus of this evaluation was on lessons learned, not recommendations for improvement. The following lessons learned from the NVSP may help inform the design of future similar initiatives:

  • Incentives can help encourage the removal of technologies (i.e., vehicles in this case) that are harmful to the environment. In particular, a moderate cash incentive (such as $300 to retire an older vehicle) can be effective. It was originally assumed that $300 cash would not be as popular a reward as other incentives of higher value (transit passes, discounts on bikes, memberships in car-sharing programs, etc.). This assumption was proven to be inaccurate, as more than 90% of program participants chose the cash incentive.

  • The use of a third-party delivery partner (through a contribution agreement with an NFP) can make a program efficient, effective and timely. According to evaluation findings, the use of a third-party deliverer allowed EC to implement a cost-efficient and effective program by capitalizing on the agility of a national NFP.

  • When using large, complex contribution agreements, care must be taken to establish a tailored contribution agreement, with precise clauses on roles and responsibilities. The NVSP was delivered through a national NFP that managed a significant amount of program dollars. An agreement of this size and complexity should be tailored to the type of program and clarify the roles and responsibilities of each partner.

  • It is important to thoroughly assess all aspects of a program up front, and to manage the risks that they represent. The evaluation evidence indicates that the NFP which received the contribution did not have the full capacity up front to manage such a large contribution. For example, EC did not sufficiently investigate the financial management capacity of the NFP before the program’s launch, and consequently the financial reporting and monitoring had to be strengthened throughout the program. In a situation such as this (a large contribution to a single organization), a risk assessment should be conducted. The assessment should then be used to identify and address weaknesses and gaps on the part of the recipient, and/or to design a tailored monitoring strategy.

  • Effective performance monitoring can help improve programs and the quality of evidence for evaluations. The NVSP’s performance monitoring system, featuring an online reporting database, allowed program management to assess the program’s results on a daily basis. The monitoring system allowed EC to monitor progress and make adjustments to the delivery of the program in a timely manner. It also allowed the evaluation team to assess the program’s success with reliable and representative quantitative measures. The availability of this performance data therefore strengthened the evidence for the evaluation.


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