Posts Tagged ‘behaviour change’

Jayride: Ridesharing to save money, reduce emissions, and meet people.

Posted in Models by Jessica Bird on February 28th, 2012


Photo: Mosman Council

Carpooling and ridesharing are about sharing your travel. By filling spare seats in your car you can save money, reduce your carbon emissions, meet people and have fun. There are plenty of reasons to carpool. Australian based start-up Jayride helps you get from A to B, suggest carpooling and ridesharing opportunities, as well as buses, shuttles, and other options if there are no carpools operating where you need.

From “Meet Jayride, Anthill 2011 Cool Company Award Winner [Social Capitalist Category]” by Anthill Magazine:

Looking for a lift from here to there? Jayride wants to be your thumb.

Since 2008, the business founded by businessman/ride-sharing advocate Rod Bishop and web developer Ross Lin has been one of Australia’s leading sources of carpooling… wait for it… evangelism.

Jayride, one of the Anthill’s Smart 100 earlier [last year], uses a slick website structure to link auto drivers and riders. But if the business’ service stopped there, it would be nifty and little more. What makes Jayride cool is how it pushes its brand and how it has plugged in a revenue model designed to keep the company motoring along and driving toward its ambitious goal of extending beyond Australia.   As Bishop puts it: “Traditional carpool marketing sucks. A traditional slogan such as ‘it’s cool to pool’ means nothing, and it’s certainly not cool.  “By contrast, Jayride teams up with music festivals, solving transport problems and piggybacking Jayride onto the festival’s branding. Jayride touts itself as the ‘ultimate warm-up act,’ letting guests ‘meet fun randoms’ and ‘have great roadtrips with likeminded music lovers.’”

3,000 cars carpooled to Splendour In the Grass festival, with 500 people using Jayride. Jayride targets students, and helps tourists see sights in ways that are greener and more fun.  Jayride, which to date has about 7,000 members who have shared 80,000 rides.

[…]

Jayride notes that consistent carpoolers save 1.38 tonnes of carbon emissions a year — a save about $2,400 over the same period. By helping Australians fill empty seats in cars, buses, trains and ferries, Jayride takes a bite out of gridlock and the nation’s fuel dependency.  Jayride’s founders actually didn’t devote themselves full-time to the business until the middle of this year, when they put the revenue model in place. Now they’re ready for the long haul.  “The coolest thing about Jayride,” says Bishop, “is that it has found its niche problem and designed a niche solution that has the ability to deliver real, effective change in people’s lives.”

Jayride recently received $400,000 in seed funding to continue expanding their service and coverage.

Check out jayride.com for more details.

 


Chinese Wheelbarrows: Low-carbon, low-infrastructure vehicles

Posted in Models, Research by Kate Archdeacon on February 16th, 2012

Source: Low-Tech Magazine


Image from Kris de Decker

From “How to downsize a transport network: the Chinese wheelbarrow” by Kris de Decker:

For being such a seemingly ordinary vehicle, the wheelbarrow has a surprisingly exciting history. This is especially true in the East, where it became a universal means of transportation for both passengers and goods, even over long distances.

The Chinese wheelbarrow – which was driven by human labour, beasts of burden and wind power – was of a different design than its European counterpart. By placing a large wheel in the middle of the vehicle instead of a smaller wheel in front, one could easily carry three to six times as much weight than if using a European wheelbarrow.

The one-wheeled vehicle appeared around the time the extensive Ancient Chinese road infrastructure began to disintegrate. Instead of holding on to carts, wagons and wide paved roads, the Chinese turned their focus to a much more easily maintainable network of narrow paths designed for wheelbarrows. The Europeans, faced with similar problems at the time, did not adapt and subsequently lost the option of smooth land transportation for almost one thousand years.

Transport options over land

Before the arrival of the steam engine, people have always preferred to move cargo over water instead of over land, because it takes much less effort to do so. But whenever this was not possible, there remained essentially three options for transporting goods: carrying them (using aids like a yoke, or none at all), tying them to pack animals (donkeys, mules, horses, camels, goats), or loading them onto a wheeled cart or wagon (which could be pulled by humans or animals).

Carrying stuff was the easiest way to go; there was no need to build roads or vehicles, nor to feed animals. But humans can carry no more than 25 to 40 kg over long distances, which made this a labour-intensive method if many goods had to be transported. Pack animals can take about 50 to 150 kg, but they have to be fed, are slightly more demanding than people in terms of terrain, and they can be stubborn. Pack animals also require one or more people to guide them.

When carrying goods – whether by person or by pack animals – the load is not only moved in the desired direction but it also undergoes an up and down movement with every step. This is a significant waste of energy, especially when transporting heavy goods over long distances. Dragging stuff does not have this drawback, but in that case you have friction to fight. Pulling a wheeled vehicle is therefore the most energy-efficient choice, because the cargo only undergoes a horizontal motion and friction is largely overcome by the wheels. Wheeled carts and wagons, whether powered by animals or people, can take more weight for the same energy input, but this advantage comes at a price; you need to build fairly smooth and level roads, and you need to build a vehicle. If the vehicle is drawn by an animal, the animal needs to be fed.

When all these factors are taken into consideration, the wheelbarrow could be considered the most efficient transport option over land, prior to the Industrial Revolution. It could take a load similar to that of a pack animal, yet it was powered by human labour and not prone to disobedience.

Compared to a two-wheeled cart or a four-wheeled wagon, a wheelbarrow was much cheaper to build because wheel construction was a labour-intensive job. Although the wheelbarrow required a road, a very narrow path (about as wide as the wheel) sufficed, and it could be bumpy. The two handles gave an intimacy of control that made the wheelbarrow very manoeuvrable.

Handbarrow

When the wheelbarrow finally caught on in Europe, it was used for short distance cargo transport only, notably in construction, mining and agriculture. It was not a road vehicle. In the East, however, the wheelbarrow was also applied to medium and long distance travel, carrying both cargo and passengers. This use – which had no Western counterpart – was only possible because of a difference in the design of the Chinese vehicle. The Western wheelbarrow was very ill-adapted to carry heavy weights over longer distances, whereas the Chinese design excelled at it.

On the European wheelbarrow the wheel was (and is) invariably placed at the furthest forward end of the barrow, so that the weight of the burden is equally distributed between the wheel and the man pushing it. In fact, the wheel substitutes for the front man of the handbarrow or stretcher, the carrying tool that was replaced by the wheelbarrow.

Superior Chinese design

In the characteristic Chinese design a much larger wheel was (and is) placed in the middle of the wheelbarrow, so that it takes the full weight of the burden with the human operator only guiding the vehicle. In fact, in this design the wheel substitutes for a pack animal. In other words, when the load is 100 kg, the operator of a European wheelbarrow carries a load of 50 kg while the operator of a Chinese wheelbarrow carries nothing. He (or she) only has to push or pull, and steer.

[…]

The decay of the Chinese road infrastructure

The importance of the Chinese wheelbarrow can only be understood in the context of the Chinese transportation network. Prior to the third century AD, China had an extensive and well-maintained road network suited for animal powered carts and wagons. It was only surpassed in length by the Ancient Roman road network. The Chinese road infrastructure attained a total length of about 25,000 miles (40,000 km), compared to almost 50,000 miles (80,000 km) for the Roman system.

The Chinese and Roman road systems were built (independently) over the course of five centuries during the same period in history. Curiously, due to (unrelated) political reasons, both systems also started to disintegrate side by side from the third century AD onwards, and herein lies the explanation for the success of the Chinese wheelbarrow. As we have seen, the one-wheeled vehicle appeared during this period, and this is no coincidence. Increasingly, it was the only vehicle that could be operated on the deteriorating road network.

[…]

Lessons for the future

Of course, it was not only the wheelbarrow that kept Chinese communication running after the second century AD. At least as important was the impressive network of artificial canals that complemented it. This infrastructure became ever more important after the detoriation of the road network. For example, the Grand Canal, which ran from Hangzhou to Bejing over a distance of 1800 km, was completed in 1327 after 700 years of digging.

In Europe, the first (relatively modest) canals were only built during the 16th century, and most of them only appeared in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Chinese wheelbarrow alone could not have given Europe an equally effective transport infrastructure as the Chinese, but there is no doubt that it could have made life in medieval Europe a great deal easier.

The story of the Chinese wheelbarrow also teaches us an obvious lesson for the future. While many of us today are not even prepared to change their limousine for a small car, let alone their automobile for a bicycle, we forget that neither one of these vehicles can function without suited roads. Building and maintaining roads is very hard work, and history shows that it is far from evident to keep up with it.

In this regard, it is important to keep in mind that we won’t be as lucky as the medieval Europeans who inherited one of the best and most durable road networks in the world. Our road infrastructure – mostly based on asphalt – is more similar to that of the Ancient Chinese and will disintegrate at a much faster rate if we lose our ability to maintain it. The Chinese wheelbarrow – and with it many other forgotten low-tech transportation options – might one day come in very handy again.

Read the full article (there’s a lot more, with pictures too) by Kris de Decker on Low-Tech Magazine.


Insight: How the Dutch got their cycling infrastructure

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on December 28th, 2011

From “How the Dutch got their cycle paths” by Sarah Goodyear for Project for Public Spaces:

Given the reputation of the Netherlands as a cyclist’s paradise, you might think that its extensive cycling infrastructure came down from heaven itself, or was perhaps created by the wave of a magic wand. Not so. It was the result of a lot of hard work, including massive street protests and very deliberate political decision-making.

The video [click through below] offers vital historical perspective on the way the Netherlands ended up turning away from the autocentric development that arose with postwar prosperity, and chose to go down the cycle path. It lists several key factors, including public outrage over the amount of space given to automobiles; huge protests over traffic deaths, especially those of children, which were referred to by protesters as “child murder”; and governmental response to the oil crisis of the 1970s, which prompted efforts to reduce oil dependence without diminishing quality of life.

The Netherlands is often perceived as an exceptional nation in terms of its transportation policies and infrastructure. And yet there is nothing inherently exceptional about the country’s situation. As the narrator says at the end of the film, “The Netherlands’ problems were and are not unique. Their solutions shouldn’t be that either.”

Watch the video. It’s inspiring (“…it seems so simple”) and frustrating (“aaargh…it seems so simple!”) at the same time.


Mo-bility: Design Concept for Integrated Transport Credits

Posted in Visions by Kate Archdeacon on November 9th, 2011

Via Sustainable Cities Collective

mo“ – a flexible mobility system for the city of tomorrow

mo is a new mobility system – it helps make the city a better place to live. mo subscribers can rent bikes, cargobikes, ebikes and cars or use public transportation with just one card. With mo it pays to be eco-friendly: choose an eco-friendly transport or use your own bike to collect momiles. The more momiles the lower your bill. For instance if you mostly ride bikes, renting a car gets cheaper. Cycle and save money.

About the design concept: Under the direction of Munich design agency LUNAR Europe, a “human-centred” design process has been used to develop an innovative mobility system by the name of “mo”. The concept study, developed in collaboration with environmental organisation Green City e.V. and the University of Wuppertal, is based on a flexible, affordable and sustainable combination of bike rental systems, local public transport and car sharing.

>> Read more about mo.



Food Waste & Blaming the Individual: Research Article

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on October 13th, 2011

Source: Food Climate Research Network (FCRN)


Photo by abbyladybug via flickr CC

From “Attitudes to and behaviours around food waste“:

This paper is written by David Evans of the Sustainable Consumption Institute. It is based on observations of ‘ordinary’ people shopping for and preparing food (19 households in all). It argues that, contrary to the prevailing view, people do know how to cook and do care about throwing food away. However it argues that the pressure to ‘eat properly’, in part a consequence of the styles promoted by celebrity chefs, gives rise to food purchasing habits that are unrealistic and give rise to waste. It concludes by suggesting ways in which food waste can be reduced – by portion resizing and by moves to “normalise the provisioning of foodstuffs that are not susceptible to rapid decay” (ie. tins, dried foods, frozen foods etc).

Reference and abstract as follows:

Evans D (2011). Blaming the consumer – once again: the social and material contexts of everyday food waste practices in some English households, Critical Public Health, 1–12

DOI:10.1080/09581596.2011.608797

In public debates about the volume of food that is currently wasted by UK households, there exists a tendency to blame the consumer or individualise responsibilities for affecting change. Drawing on ethnographic examples, this article explores the dynamics of domestic food practices and considers their consequences in terms of waste. Discussions are structured around the following themes: (1) feeding the family; (2) eating ‘properly’; (3) the materiality of ‘proper’ food and its intersections with the socio-temporal demands of everyday life and (4) anxieties surrounding food safety and storage. Particular attention is paid to the role of public health interventions in shaping the contexts through which food is at risk of wastage. Taken together, I argue that household food waste cannot be conceptualised as a problem of individual consumer behaviour and suggest that policies and interventions might usefully be targeted at the social and material conditions in which food is provisioned.

Read the article and related links on FCRN.

Or read about it on the SCI website.

 


Community Power Conference: Australian communities taking charge of their energy use

Posted in Events, Research by Kate Archdeacon on October 12th, 2011

Are you looking for practical, achievable ways to reduce the impact of electricity price rises in your community? The Community Power Conference: Australian Communities Taking Charge, aims to showcase how regional Australian communities: are developing innovative energy projects, helping to reduce local economic shocks can take practical action to hedge against rising energy prices.


14 -15 November, The Capital – Bendigo Performing Arts Centre, View Street, Bendigo


The Centre for Sustainable Regional Communities, in its third biennial conference on renewable energy, is partnering with the Central Victoria Solar City project, part of the Australian Government’s Solar Cities program, and the City of Greater Bendigo, to deliver an exciting exploration of current energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies and actions being taken by Australian communities. This conference will show your community what it can do with regard to:

  • more efficient use of energy in homes and businesses
  • more effective demand management to smooth peak energy loads, and
  • developing local, renewable energy generators embedded within the national distribution network.

The conference will bring together leaders in the renewable energy industry including government, industry associations and communities which have adopted sustainable strategies built on innovative, renewable energy business models. Speakers will engage with community and municipality leaders:

  • Outlining and developing comprehensive strategies for local and regional energy sustainability (identifying appropriate business models, overcoming policy barriers, engaging your community, knowing your technology options);
  • Showcasing examples of regional communities that have already, or are in the process of putting such strategies in place; and,
  • Reviewing and developing communities’ local and regional energy sustainability policy and programs.

If your community is facing increased energy costs and you would like to learn how to address this issue at the local level then this conference can help you. Follow the link below for more information.

www.centralvictoriasolarcity.com.au/special-projects/communitypower


Sustainable Ethical Fashion: Discussion

Posted in Movements, Opinion by Kate Archdeacon on October 6th, 2011

Source: guardian.co.uk


Photo by Bert van Dijk via flickr CC

From “Discussion round up: sustainability in the fashion business” by Jenny Purt:

What should the priorities be for the apparel business?

Labour conditions, water footprints, fibres and carbon.

An initial step would be for companies to make a concerted effort to adopt a few fabrics that are more sustainable but which may cost 5-10% more in base price. This would cause a chain reaction in the rest of industry. As big brands source more responsible textiles for their collections, there will be a bigger volume of orders which will lower the overall manufacturing cost (and therefore retail price), making the product more accessible to the mainstream market.[…]

How can companies increase sustainability throughout their supply chains?

In order to implement systemic change, there must first be a market for sustainable products, and currently that is quite small. Companies need to heighten customer awareness of where clothing comes from, how it is made and the social and environmental impact of its production. One panellist commented that there is a market for sustainability but currently consumers just don’t know enough. The first step is internal transparency.[…]

Can collaboration help?

Sharing best practices is a key element for change in the industry. Sharing knowledge is critical because the clothing industry is very complex and there is not just one answer. Only through collaboration at different stages of the supply chain we can find solutions.

How can brands bring ethical fashion into the mainstream?

While there are some super-premium ethical fashion brands, the market lacks stylish, affordable clothes from well-known high-street brands. One of the problems is that many ethical fashion companies do not get the exposure of the big, non-ethical brands because they cannot afford PR representation which is the engine house of the fashion industry. This means while there may be editors and stylists who would like some of the ethical fashion being produced, they are not exposed to it in the same way they are to big labels. The Mintel report in 2009 showed that some consumers would buy ethical fashion if prices were lower. However others said they would not trust cheap ethical fashion.[…]

What steps are being made across the apparel industry to encourage people to value quality and longevity over quantity and trends?

Mainstream retailers saw a “flight to quality” during the last recession. This means customers moving away from the cheaper, value products to more design-led and added-value pieces. This could be an interesting way of moving mainstream fashion to more sustainable sources if we can demonstrate real design value in ethical alternatives.[…]

Is organic cotton a sustainable solution?

There are a whole range of viewpoints on organic cotton with the most controversial being that farming cotton, organic or not, is not a sustainable option due to water availability. With many man-made fibres starting to mimic the touch, feel and handle of organic cotton, we will start to see cotton production levels falling and replacement fibres taking centre stage. The WWF recently produced a report on cotton highlighting the work done by the Better Cotton Initiative and the wider issues surrounding cotton production.[…]

Adopting more than one fibre type

Made-by has created an environmental benchmark for fibres which compares 23 fibres and ranks them on their sustainability impact. The organisation works with brands to develop a sustainable fibre strategy, swapping less sustainable fibres for those that are more sustainable.[…]

How can brands communicate sustainable approaches to consumers?

M&S [Marks & Spencer] is a leader in terms getting the message of its sustainability strategy out to the public but there are also other big brands doing some really interesting things. For example, Nike’s apparel eco index has now been released as open source. The company has also integrated its sustainability team into its business innovation lab with the ethos of “business as normal”. Puma are well known for its Clever Little Bag campaign, getting rid of shoe boxes and using a reusable bag instead. The sports company is also working on product development with eco scorecards and converting more of their range to sustainable materials, including cotton made in Africa. It is key for a brand to find an appropriate product and lexicon to communicate their approach to sustainability […]

How can companies change consumer behaviour?

One panellist said that some of the best examples have come from the laundry sector. Procter & Gamble’s Ariel Turn to 30 campaign has been successful in raising awareness around washing at lower temperatures to save money as has Persil’s Small and Mighty washing product which is designed to clean in 30 minutes. There have also been encouraging examples in the apparel industry with Patagonia developing closed loop recycling for their fleeces and Tesco’s collection and redistribution of used school uniforms through British Red Cross a few years ago.[…]

How can businesses work with suppliers to increase sustainability?

Panellists agreed that talking to suppliers is key to getting internal transparency. One panellist said that in her experience suppliers are quite knowledgeable and enthusiastic about traceability and sustainable materials. If a business has an existing supply chain, a life-cycle-wide assessment of the overall impact might help identify the weakest areas in the chain. An initiative such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s could help identify what issues to start chipping away at.[…]

What comes next for the fashion industry?

One of the major trends will be securing resources, raw materials, energy and water to run factories. Cotton prices have gone up over the last 12 months with factories in Bangladesh suffering four or five power cuts every day. With rising energy and water bills all over the world, even the big brands will struggle with these issues. Companies should see these challenges as an opportunity for more sustainable designs. The sector will face even tougher competition as suppliers from emerging countries establish their own brands and export to international markets in parallel with their work as contractors. New rules must be set and a common and clearer understanding about what is and is not sustainable is needed.

Key issues are:

  • Consumer behaviour change – especially in how we clean and dispose of clothes.
  • Making sustainable development desirable.
  • Climate change adaptation – as the planet’s temperature changes, consumers needs from clothes will change.
Read the full article by Jenny Purt on the Guardian.


Parcel Service Uses Streetcars for Deliveries

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on October 3rd, 2011

Source: Japan for Sustainability

From “Yamato Starts Using Streetcars for Low-Carbon Parcel Transport“:

[…]

Under the new system, Yamato Transport Co. charters a single streetcar from Keifuku Electric Railroad at its Saiin carbarn, loads the streetcar with container dollies bearing parcels, and delivers them to Arashiyama Station and Randen-Saga Station. In Arashiyama, sales drivers unload the dollies, reload them onto carriers pulled by electric bicycles, and then deliver the parcels to customers.

Yamato Transport had already been using railway to transport parcels between some of its service offfices; however, this is the first modal shift between one of its distribution terminals and its sales offices, where parcels are actually collected and delivered. The company will introduce this system at other Randen streetcar stations and try to collect and deliver parcels while minimizing its use of trucks.

Yamato Transport hopes to reduce carbon emissions in Kyoto City, a city that, as the birthplace of the Kyoto Protocol, aims to be a model of environmental stewardship under the slogan “Walking City, Kyoto.”

Read the full article on Japan for Sustainability.


Lunchtime Gardening for Office Health

Posted in Models, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on September 23rd, 2011

Source: Sustainable Bristol


Photo: Ovagrown.blogspot.com

From “Will Business embrace Lunchtime Allotments?” by Paul Rainger:

Growing your own is all the rage. With long waiting lists for allotment space, we’ve seen veg beds spring up in parks, guerrilla growers taking over derelict land and even veg growing on supermarket roofs. The beneficial effects of reconnecting which nature through growing are well studied, from healthy eating itself, through to general improvements in health, happiness and even productivity at work. So, could leading business embrace Lunchtime Allotments as the next must have staff perk?

Will tomorrow’s young generation of more values-led employees see an hour lunchtime break to tend their veg as another key differentiator between good and bad employers, just as secure bicycle parking and showers are for many today? One company in Bristol, Arup, are already leading the way in the city. Staff in their city centre Bristol office haven’t let lack of space get in their way. They have simply taken over the nearby wide grass verge by the main bus lane.Now beans and courgettes pass by the window of the traffic heading up to the train station. You can even follow their adventures on [their blog http://ovagrown.blogspot.com/].

What if every business played its part in greening our city? Not the bland corporate shrubbery we see today, but the real veg growing of Lunchtime Allotments like this. Businesses would benefit from the improved productivity, health and wellbeing of their staff. And in these times of recession in the public sector, it may now be the best way of achieving the truly edible city.

Read the original article by Paul Rainger on Sustainable Bristol

 


Pop-Up Placemaking

Posted in Movements, Visions by Kate Archdeacon on September 21st, 2011

Via Sustainable Cities Collective


Photo by John Niedermeyer via flickr CC

From “Cities rethink urban spaces with ‘pop-up’ projects” by Siri Agrell:

‘Pop-up’ urban planning gives cities the freedom to experiment with projects on a temporary basis, allowing innovative ideas a trial run without expensive commitment of taxpayer money. Cities around the world are embracing the idea, leading in many cases to permanent changes in the urban landscape.

If there is a reigning Queen of Pop-Up, it is Janette Sadik-Khan, the New York city transportation commissioner. In 2009, Ms. Sadik-Khan famously closed Times Square to traffic, transforming it into a pedestrian mall by simply throwing down some pylons and offering a smattering of lawn chairs. Although some drivers howled, Ms. Sadik-Khan was ready for the criticism, and began citing statistics she gathered by closely tracking the experiment.

The city quickly found that revenues from businesses in Times Square had risen 71 per cent, and that injuries to motorists and passengers in the project areas dropped 63 per cent. The city installed GPS units into 13,000 taxis so that the Department of Transportation could track the impact on car traffic, and found that northbound trips in the west midtown area around Times Square were actually 17 per cent faster.

The pop-up projects didn’t stop there. Ms. Sadik-Khan brought temporary public swimming pools onto Manhattan streets last summer, and, over the course of a single weekend, she turned a Brooklyn parking lot into a park by painting a white border and filling it in with green to represent grass. “It was a quick way of showing you can transform a space in a matter of hours instead of a matter of years,” she told Esquire magazine.

She performs most of her transformations without capital funds from the city, scrounging up cash and resources and avoiding actually asking permission.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration has embraced the tactic, and now uses the term “pilot project” to introduce programs into other departments, including education, making them exempt from the usual approval processes.

Read the full article by Siri Agrell for The Globe and Mail.

For an interesting follow-up, read this March piece in the NY Times, outlining the difficulties faced by the city officials mentioned above. KA