EuroCarshare 2006: Message to Europe (and to the world)
Dear Sustainable Friends,
We try very hard to keep our many transport-related sites into silos as possible and not too dumb, but there are times when we need to open up the links between them, and this is one. So what you have hear is about the latest project of our World Carshare program, but one that is specifically focused on carsharing and public policy (that the New Mobility rub of course). Not only is the topic directly relevant to our sustainable transport interests here but also the method – open group work – is right up our alley. So now lets’ go for it:
I very much hope that this group project is going to be of interest to you. As many of you know, we set out some months ago to create a series of high level workshops aiming to bring into one forum for a couple of days a good number of the leaders of carsharing in Europe -- . You can find the short story on that in the attached latest media release, and for the full story I invite you to click to www.eurocarshare.org.
Those of you who have been hanging around here for some time probably have a pretty good feel for the way that we tend to let group projects such as this migrate as they develop in order to take full advantage of the learning process that is inevitably engaged (if you are able to learn of course . . . don’t laugh. That ain’t so obvious.). It is a matter of listening, dialoguing and continuous iterative adjusting as you go along -- and as we know for the most part government institutions and agencies particularly at the more aggregate levels (national, international) are not very good at it. (A mayor is far more likely to listen to you since you can go right up to his door and make your voice heard – which is why more of us love our mayors than the public servants who are harder to, let’s say just about impossible, to get at.)
So . . . one of the things that we have learned over these last months in this case is that despite the fact that carsharing has made so much progress over these last years and despite the fact that as a result there are quite a number of people and groups how really know how to make it work – our friends in the public sector have for the most part lagged far behind. And this, sadly, is also the case at the key local, city level. So what to do?
Well, we have decided to take advantage of this singular opportunity next week to put our experience and heads together, and through this process fashion a Message to Europe. This message, aimed at all levels of government, is to be created in a first draft at the meeting and through the discussions and presentations, and will key on a series of twelve Country Statements about carsharing: where it is today, what it needs to be bigger and better, and what the public sector might want to think about doing to bring along this brilliant idea, and in the process begin a change of mindset subsequent to which we will all understand more about how to bring about not only good carsharing operations but many of the components of the sustainable transportation systems we now so badly need in our cities.
This group work process is going to work in the following steps:
1. Our country teams, in addition to their individual presentations and discussions, get together to provide 5 minute recaps of the above key questions in the closing session on the 1st of April.
2. These will then be hammered into print statements (we will have recordings of their presentations and hope they will also give us their working notes), which we will put before them individually for their verification, etc.
3. I will then sit down with all this and try to see if I can conjure it into a draft Message, which once again will be distributed to all present for their comments, etc.
4. All this will also be shared with this forum – probably via the New Mobility Agenda Co-Blog that you can click to at the top of either http://www.newmobility.org or http://worldcarshare.com. And at this point comments will be invited.
5. I hope that we shall be able to create an informal annex which would bring together all these comments and reactions in order to provide a living document which not only captures the reader’s interest, but which also works to involve all of you in this, I like to call it, Self-Organizing Collaborative Network.
That’s the plan anyway. And since you already have a wealthy of materials at www.eurocarshare.org, you will already be able to get a feel for where we are going with this Your comments, suggestions, and all the rest will be most welcome. Of course I hope that this document is going to provide useful in other parts of the worlds as well, and indeed if this works out well this first time maybe we should be thinking about doing this in North America as a next step. We’ll see.