Whenever I hear the word revolver . . . I reach for my culture.

We have long-held a theory at the New Mobility Agenda that you can never tell where the next good idea is going to come from. So you really do have to keep your eyes, ears and minds wide open, and learn where you can, where you can, from whom you can. For example, Volkswagen in the New Mobility Agenda? Well, what not? Let’s show you one great idea that you may not have seen the first time around and that we have just this morning plucked out from our archives.
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What is the best way to teach an adult to cycle?

Sustainable transport cannot be separated from sustainable cities. Nor sustainable cities from sustainable lives. Here is a small project from Sweden that takes as its goal to teach people how to balance and move safely around on a bike. But who in Sweden cannot climb on a cycle without a thought and toddle off? Well, among others immigrant women coming from Africa and the Middle East who find themselves living in this very different culture in which they are free to cycle like everyone else. Continue reading

Sustainable transport in Delhi and Stockholm

This article addresses from an Indo-Swedish perspective issues of the development of transport systems, taking its examples from Delhi and Stockholm. The introduction of the first BRT or bus rapid transport corridor in Delhi and the institution of a congestion tax in Stockholm are presented and discussed in terms of modernisation and sustainable transport. The authors explore the perceptions of politicians and examine the two projects in the search for the driving forces for transport policies. Despite all the differences, some similarities in the development of their urban transport projects have been found.

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Carsharing in Sweden: 2010 Update

This latest country survey from Sweden provides and update and excellent coverage of the carshare situation there, thanks to Per Schillander of the SRA. More than 18,000 registered drivers, almost 60 different programs, and at last count 573 vehicles. You will want to read this in parallel with his comprehensive report from last winter: Car Sharing in Sweden in 2010 Continue reading

When English is not enough. Well then let’s do it in Italian,. (Or Swedish, Finnish, Portuguese, Chinese, French or . . .)

1. Start here: Italy, Italian and New Mobility. In June 2009, after four months of successful publication and an enthusiastic public reception in many parts of the world, the World Streets team found ourselves talking with an Italian colleague, the environmental activist Enrico Bonfatti who had been scanning the readership maps of World Streets and in the process noted that there were only one or two regular readers of the publication in Italy. Why? Good question.

Might it be that there was no interest in the concept of better explanation?

2. Time and language:
We concluded that Italy was in many ways a typical case, and that while there is plenty of interest in many parts of the country in these matters, almost everyone is suffering from major information overload on the one hand — and furthermore that very very few of us, even those of us who know another language well, are all that comfortable if we have to read daily dispatches on these complex if interesting matters in anything other than our own main language.

Now that may come as a surprise to anyone who thinks that English is taking over as the universal language. But if you actually take the time to speak with and get to know the people who are working with these matters at the level of cities, agencies, public interest groups, or even universities in different parts of the world, you will see that when it comes to day-to-day communication all of us really do work best in our main language. (The reactions to this claim turn out to be quite interesting and are by no means unanimous. However we have found upon careful examination and discussion with those directly involved that the thesis stands up to inspection and is realistic and relevant. So we have not hesitated to make it a pillar of our work.)

3. 1 July 2010: Nuova Mobilità goes on line in Italy.
After careful consideration and diligent preparations over a two-month period, starting on 1 July and with Enrico Bonfatti stepping forward as managing editor of the new publication, we set out on an adventure to bring these concepts into the daily life of colleagues across Italy, with the publication written in careful Italian and adapted for the Italian institutional context and felt priorities.

Over the remainder of 2009 we saw readership expanding regularly and could see from the stats that the journal was being visited by individuals and groups in more and more cities up and down the peninsula. As of this date we are seeing something on the order of anywhere from 100 to 200 Italian readers checking in each day, and thus far have noted visits from more than 60 Italian cities and, somewhat surprisingly, roughly 2 dozen from other parts of the world.

What is especially striking about this map for those of you happen to be familiar with Italy, is that in addition to the expected heavy readership in the northern half of the country, we are also seeing real interest from the South. This is an excellent sign for the future.

And if you wish to practice your Italian, nothing could be more simple: all you have to do is click to www.nuovamobilita.org. And if your usually excellent Italian should fill you, no problem, you will see the machine translation tool on the top left of the site. Benvenuti nel futuro della mobilità sostenibile in Italia.

4. What about other language/country editions?

One lesson we have abundantly learned over the last year of hard work in creating and publishing daily this Italian Journal is that it is not a job to be undertaken lightly. Despite the fact that roughly 2/3 of all the articles that appear are adapted from the latest postings of World Streets, there is more to it than simply having the skills to produce a good translation. The articles need to be selected and adapted for Italian readers, in the Italian cities, institutional and policy context; –but in addition to that there is the entire challenge of creating specific Italian content, which is also a time-consuming mission and which continues to be a process that even after all these months still needs to be fully engaged.

As result, we have discovered that organizing and maintaining anything along the lines of Nuova Mobilità is pretty close to a full-time job for one talented, hard-working person. This of course has economic implications, with which our readers will be entirely familiar.

5. Bridging the language gap:
What to do in the event that there is still this challenge of finding a way to bridge the language gap, but in a first instance perhaps not taking on the full load and financial implications of creating a new dedicated publication? This is a problem which we are facing with several colleagues and concerned organizations in Sweden, Finland, Portugal, France and Taiwan — and here is the way in which we are collaborating to get the job done.

The key lies in the creation of a special monthly edition of World Streets which provides in the target language a careful synopsis and one click access to the full contents of all content and commentaries published in the daily journal over the preceding month. These monthly reports are specially created by the World Streets team, working closely with the collaborating national sponsors in order to ensure that the final product is not only accurately and quickly developed, but that it is presented in a form which is agreeable to read and easy to move beyond through one-click links to the full sources in each case.

* * * Here is an example of a typical World Streets Monthly Edition, in this case is prepared to summarize for our subscribers/sponsors all items appearing over the month of April 2010 – http://tinyurl.com/ws-apr2010. For a copy of the other language editions, get in touch and we will be pleased to share them with you.

6. The last kilometer challenge

The “last kilometer” or “last mile” is, of course, a term from the telecommunications and cable television industries involving the final leg of delivering connectivity from a communications provider (in this case World Streets) to an end-user (in this case you and your busy colleagues). Here it is specifically aimed at supporting and expanding the network of those agencies, local authorities, universities, operators, associations, consultants and concerned citizens working on these issues within their country or region.

The following diagram and notes are intended to give a picture of how this can be made to work.

Once the current monthly report has been prepared with our language partner, they are then dispatched to all of those in the host country who are concerned with these matters. This listing turns out to be quite extensive in all cases thus far encountered, and includes not only the key national ministries and agencies charged with matters of transport, environment, cities, economics, social justice and more, but also all those working on these challenges at the level of the specific city or local administration, researchers, transportation operators, university programs, consultants, public interest groups, concerned citizens, and the national media.

Our goal in each case is to create an outreach in which the map in each cooperating country will gradually grow and eventually come to resemble the same level of coverage which we are achieving in Italy.

7. Want to discuss a collaborative outreach project?

We will be pleased to provide further information on both approaches and invite interested readers to get in touch by phone, e-mail, snail mail, Skype or, best of all, this is the power so we can talk about all this in person. Here is a quick summary of our main contact information:

Eric Britton, Editor
World Streets/The New Mobility Partnerships
8, rue Jospeh Bara, 75006 Paris France
Tel. Europe – +331 7550 3788
USA +1 (213) 984 1277
Skype: newmobility

Car Sharing in Sweden in 2010

Carsharing is one of those areas of sustainable transport where people really know what they are dong. There is plenty of theory behind it but to get the job done one needs to be on top of the details and active on the ground — whether at the level of the operators or start-us, or for those rare public officials who understand their importance and get invovled, at the level of the city and more broadly. Given this, it is a miracle that we are able to get our any of busy colleagues to take the time away from their pressing responsibilities to share with us all their understanding and vision of carsharing in their country. This latest country survey provides excellent coverage of the situation in Sweden, thanks to Per Schillander of the SRA.

CAR SHARING IN SWEDEN, MARCH 2010

This is a basic description of Car Sharing in Sweden in 2010, as it appears in the SRA approach*.

STATUS IN SWEDEN
Developments in Sweden lagged a few years after the pioneering countries. Today the situation is similar for car share organizations (CSO) in many countries, with an increasingly self-sustaining and stable commercial car share industry and a number of smaller CSOs, run by local associations.

In Sweden there are currently two major commercial car share contractors, City Car Club and SunFleet Carsharing. Over the past year we have seen Bilpoolen.se and Ekobilpool appear as small competitors in Stockholm. While the two big handle about 150 and 300 vehicles respectively, the new ones only a handful of cars. Moreover, there are some small pilot projects for electric vehicles in a car share organization.

The local association car share groups are more, about 40, but deals in total with about 150 cars. Most have no ambition to grow and is unlikely to play any significant role in the continued development. The exceptions are in the current situation of Gothenburg car coop with 35 cars and Stockholm car share and Lund car share with a dozen cars each. These three have, together with a couple of other (big) car share organizations in the Nordic countries, a common reservation system and see themselves as major stakeholders in a future, bigger and more niched market. The same reservation system is also used by SunFleet Carsharing, which opens for an operational partnership. Possibly several small CSOs will change direction and move towards a more proactive role on a local market.

Besides these two types of open/public car share organizations are, at businesses and public administrations, a widespread and growing numbers of closed fleets. The workplace has a number of vehicles for official business and these, in varying degrees, are run like a car share operation.

A wide range of local governments have, supported by SRA, introduced internal car share organizations and thus increased the efficiency of their vehicle handling. A dozen public administrations (municipalities, provincial governments etc.) have taken a step further and procured the car share service by an external provider – any of the above mentioned. The latter is also an opportunity to open the fleet for businesses and the public – a development that benefits all parties and that the SRA supports.

The possibility of opening the CSO for multiple customers is often the main arguments for the tendering of the service. It is worth noting that these procurements of fleets stand for the largest growth in the industry. The picture below illustrate a desirable evolution in how a company or organization looks upon and deals with their cars and car travel. On the lowest level, they don’t really care. As climbing up the following stairs they develop a greater amount of responsibility, accurate monitoring and higher qualities. The “final stair” I reached when the company procures an open CSO, sharing the vehicles with others in the city.

In addition to its own public procurement several players act for more car sharing. Skåne Sustainable Mobility, Sustainable Travel in the Umeå region, and the county associations in Dalarna, Örebro, Östergötland and Västra Götaland are some active regional partners. Efforts are also made in several places linking car sharing with public transport. Practical collaborations are still only running in Gothenburg and Stockholm.

The website http://www.bilpool.nu, run by SNA, had the last year a significantly better appearance and function. Its main function is to show where the country’s shared cars are stationed. Despite the relatively anonymous existence it is already a rather well-attended site and raises the interest for cooperation in our major cities. The page is also useful for capturing the general issues of and interest in car sharing. On the page is also available the published statistics for car share organizations in Sweden 2009.


TECHNICAL PLATFORM
Car share organizations with more than 10-20 cars, free resources by installing an administrative support system. The development of telematics for car sharing has been a major issue throughout the 1990s. Administrative support is no longer a critical success factor, but more of an obvious prerequisite for the rational operation of shared fleets. Telematics has also gone from being a purely administrative system, with reservation, logbook and recordings reported back, to now be strategic telematic platforms, with a wide range of applications. Driving behavior, alcohol interlocks, speed record, seat belt use, access, service, track & trace and damage reporting are just some of the functions that can be activated with the new platforms. In this area the operation needs to some extent coincides with the rental car business and many professional services.

ASSUMED FURTHER DEVELOPMENT
The rental car industry has for years remained at a safe distance from the “nonprofit colored” and a bit “suspicious” car share industry. Some attempts on their part went less well, but now several major players in the rental car industry have launched its own car share concept. Probably, they see opportunities to streamline their core business while broadening service offerings. With such appearances business might grow significantly. SunFleet Carsharing, owned by Hertz, are after many tough years now showing profit, which should interest the rental car industry.

The development of the car share telematic platforms will likely be coordinated with other developments in other parts of the car manufacturing industry. Most of the features offered by the mentioned telematic platforms will probably be standard features and which can be activated if wanted (and for a fee).

The trend towards greater accountability (e.g., CSR) and a higher degree of quality assurance (including transport) is likely to increase the interest of outsourcing car fleets. This is a development that SRA strongly applaud and support.

One of the main characteristics of CSOs is to free space. (Each shared car replaces an average of five private cars.) As the CSOs grow the need to support their growth and to manage their impact in the physical planning will increase. Part of the issue is to adjust the municipal parking standards down – a job that pays some attention. For some years, there is also a discussion about how to allocate parking spaces for shared cars. An interesting solution is the redistribution of street space into property space and to reserve it for car share vehicles. Car share organizations are inherently flexible and another challenge is to manage a changing need of parking spaces.

Cooperation between car share organizations and public transport is often portrayed, and rightly so, as a critical success factor for both parties. Since 2008, the regional public transport company Västtrafik and the two dominant CSOs in Gothenburg have a cooperation agreement. The agreement says that if you have a seasonal subscription card of Västtrafik you may join the CSO for three months without the monthly fee. The first two months these CSOs got a couple of hundred new customers.

The local and regional public transport companies in Stockholm and Skåne have so far shown a rather cautious interest in the issue, but we will certainly see more of this type of “free” collaboration in the future. Recently, similar collaborations started in Umeå. More integrated transport (public transport, car sharing, taxi, etc. on the same card) has been tested in many places and will perhaps also established in Sweden. In some places in Germany public transport provides a complete service, including car sharing.


CRITICAL TASKS

* Address the ability to allocate parking in streets to shared cars. The last completed national parking study, although SRA reminders, did not propose this change in focus. The ability to act through local “space planning acts” should be examined.

* Address the differences in the rules for VAT deduction. For leased cars and taxis, customer may deduct all VAT, for hired cars and shared cars, however, only half the amount of VAT. To get the car rental industry into the car share business and to attract more car sharing procured in the public sector, the rules must be assimilated.

* Continue to propagate for car sharing as a key factor for flexible travel in cities. Inform municipalities, counties and companies about the benefits of organizing their transportation needs with car sharing and public transportation. Explain the system benefits of open car share organizations that serve a variety of partners in the city.

* There is a significant gap between the market potential, awareness and appreciation and use of car sharing. Probably, there is significant potential to capture through more active marketing, such as the site http://www.bilpool.nu.

* SRA should continue to conduct national monitoring (statistics) and analysis of the car sharing market. SRA should also continue to act as a national and international party and interface for car sharing

* Continue to gather knowledge about car sharing. The following ingredients are present for a publication:
• domestic market potential (completed January 2009)
• status in the world – a list and fuller description
• status in Sweden – list and fuller description
• VAT – rules of deduction and tax rates for car sharing
• public transport – new models, strategies
• extended functions – speed and fuel record, alcohol interlocks, etc.
• procurement requirements – optimized solutions
• key figures for enterprises and organizations
• review of administrative systems (from 2008)
• parking – utilities, standards, policies

# # #

Note:
April 1, 2010 marks the start of a new governmental authority – The Swedish Transport Administration. The new administration is charged with the task of developing an effective and sustainable transport system including all modes of transport. In close dialogue with regions and municipalities, the new Transport Administration is responsible for the collective, long-term infrastructural planning for all modes of transport. The Transport Administration is also responsible for building and maintaining the national highways, roads, and railways. In addition, the Transport Administration is responsible for efficient use of the infrastructure and for promoting safe and environmentally adapted transports.

About the author:
Per Schillander: Master of science, 30 years of experiences in different tasks in environment and transport areas. Employed by the Swedish road administration since 1998, as a small part national expert on car sharing. All year cyclist (southern Sweden). Big lover of music, sailing, wildlife etc. A never resting improver of house, garden, mind and society.

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