How, when and by whom exactly does the actual self-audit or collaborative benchmarking exercise take place. This is a matter for each city team to work out for themselves, but here are some first suggestions based on our past experience.
In laying the base for this project it is important to bear in mind that the three key elements include (a) the Twenty Key Questions and Criteria which are set out here, (b) the evaluation criteria (starting with the 0-4 scale), and (c) the composition and method of the local evaluating team.
Audit panel composition: (a) Local residents. (b) 100% daily cyclists. (c) Minimum 1/3, preferably full female parity. (d) Several seniors, several school cyclists.
With these in hand we are ready to start.
1. Start here
Once the first group of evaluators have been contacted and informed in advance concerning the project idea and proposed approach, the usual next step is to organize a first plenary meeting as early as convenient, convening the key groups and individuals who know most about cycling their city as daily cyclists, and then going step by step through the 20 point questionnaire to examine and discuss what the consensus of the meeting could be concerning each of the benchmarks. (It is useful to make sure that the key documents are distributed in advance so that members of the group will have a chance to reflect on and organize their thoughts on each of the key issues under discussion.)
This requires good knowledge of local cycling conditions of course, and there will certainly be different interpretations and values by the people attending the meeting. But with good leadership some kind of broad consensus can be reached on each of these issues, and this can be the first step in the process. (It will be important however that the interim working document does not force the consensus, so the variations should be left for now at least.)
The completed initial audit could be distributed as soon as possible so that all of those participating will be able to have an opportunity to reflect on the first round of discussions and decisions. Where there are differences these can be reflected in the working draft and left for later discussion and eventual resolution.
Quick Blog/Website: We propose that early on consideration might usefully be given to creating some kind of handy central information point on the net to allow those interested to follow the project and the variousworking materials and interim ideas as they develop.
It can be useful to organize a media event at this point to get the public and others potentially concerned to thinking about the process and eventual objectives.
2. The Car Free Day event
The second step could take place on the Car Free Day itself:: Set up a booth/information point in a busy, highly-frequented area of the city that is visible and accessible to both collaborators and the public. With good use of graphics this can serve both as the main information point for all to see what is going on, to invite people to come in, have a look at the first round results and as they wish to give their comments and even possibly grades. For that it might be handy for them to be handed both a copy of the provisional statement as decided at the first meeting, and then a virgin listing of the twenty criteria for them to put in their own comments and suggestions. Cycle parking space will of course be important.
If this stand is nicely done, it could be a popular spot for people to come and also an attraction for the news media. This last will be important in order to gain publicity for not just this project but the whole broader challenge of better and safer cycling for people of all ages in the towns and cities of all sizes. The stand should be well manned by the people behind the project.
For additional suggestions on parallel events, we refer you to the “European Mobility Week- Cycling Events Guidelines 2014” here at http://wp.me/psKUY-3H1)
3. Findings and recommendations
The third stage could take place after the Car Free Day, in which the various members of the group assembled again in order to come up with some kind of final overview picture, taking into account the feedback and reviews as collected over the Car Free Day. This could then be written up as a short report (no reason for it to be too long) and perhaps a certain number of recommendations to not only local or even national government but also the various civil society groups concerned as to what might usefully be done next.
A final press conference, preferably with the mayor and other key government and administrative figures, with the representatives of the responsible team to make a presentation of their findings and recommendations. And then to invite dialogue and questions.
4. And in 2015?
If that process is successful in this first set of pioneer cities this year, we would very much hope that for the 2015 Car Free Day that the entire process can be repeated, and would it not be a very good thing if the 2015 report showed significant progress in several important areas. Because that is what this process is all about.
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9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France
Bio: Britton is an American political scientist and sustainability activist who has lived and worked in Paris since 1969. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets, his latest book, "BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Transport to Your City" focuses on the subject of environment, equity, economy and efficiency in city transport and public space, and helping governments to ask the right questions. A pre-publication edition of Better Choices is currently undergoing an international peer review during Sept.- Oct. 2017, with the goal of publication in English and Chinese editions by end-year. If you wish to participate drop a line to BetterChoices@ecoplan.org .