Become a Green Driver and love it (Ac-centuate the Positive )
Unlike most of you, I have to admit that I have never had an original idea in my life. Most of what I come up with is usually either borrowed, more or less innocently purloined , or has already been put forward on numerous occasions without my knowing it by hundreds of other people and places that have had that idea or better many years ago. Yet, dear friends, I persist.
Today’s “latest new and great idea from Paris” that I would like to put before you has to do with a proposal for what I suggest we call Green Driving (or would “Green Cars” perhaps be better?) My idea this morning is to share this in its present early form, in the hope that some of you will chime in and help us make it into a better and more effective package. Or better yet, put it to work in your city.
From a strategic perceptive the idea is to see if we can find a way to roll a number of needed measures, reforms and actions into a single coherent package, which is not only good for the environment and for our cities and all those who live and work there, but also is something that has a positive ring to it so that people will welcome it as a great thing to do. Rather than scrape, gripe, grumble and at the end of the day resist. Which is almost always the case given the prevalent policy mind set of the day.
What are our goals behind Green Driving?
You've got to ac-centuate the positive
E-liminate the negative
L-atch on to the affirmative
And don't mess with Mister In-Between
-- Lyrics by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen, circa 1944
As the song goes, Green Driving accentuates the positive, and works or could work something like this.
The idea behind it is that if you are a Green Driver, you have a better, more comfortable and more economic life style. (And oh yes, you are also cool and have more friends!) Yes, the city changes because it must before the increasingly urgent climate challenge, but also for many other immediate local reasons -- however at the same time as a Green Driver you now have at your disposal a whole rich panoply of technologies and organizational devices which permit you to be palpably better off than you were under the old mobility arrangements which our cities are increasingly leaving behind it. You are, for sure, a car owner/driver, but as a Green Driver you are not stuck in traffic, you are not spending a bundle, and what is more, in addition to your own much loved car, now a lot more effective than it was in the old days, you also now have access to a whole range of the new and improved mobility options which you can use as and when you wish to. (Look Ma, no compulsion!)
Now while this simple, single, understandable positive proposal encompasses goals usually seen as “negative” – traffic reduction, fewer cars on the road, less congestion, lower speeds, fewer places to park, less energy consumed, greenhouse gas reductions, resource savings, and the long list goes on – we can, I am confident, achieve these important objectives, but this time with Green Driving putting the whole thing in a positive frame.
This is not to say that this approach will succeed in keeping everyone from screaming, you will always have the screamers (as Enrique Peñalosa put it so well) , but it will not only keep that number down considerably. Also, it is positive and at the same time can be shown to lead to numerous other advantages, including offering improved transportation options and services to many people who simply would not have them if you had not put “green driving’ into practice in your city.
How does it work?
Now what exactly does green driving consist of?
An extensive package of integrated, synergistic policies, measures and technologies and while this is not the place for me to roll out the full big carpet, here in shorthand is a first quick list of some of the good things that can be folded into such a program:
1. New “Zip Right In” parking technologies and packages which permit you to reserve your parking slot by mobile phone or internet before you set off on your trip, so that you can zip straight into your reserved slot without driving all over the place to find one;
2. A twenty first century fillip for ride-sharing (car and van pools) which is known as “digital hitchhiking;
3. Privileged access to HOV lanes and conveniences;
4. Proportional and significant parking reductions as an HOV
6. “Shed a car” (Vehicle Buy Back) incentive programs and packages;
7. Driver training programs for new mixed-mode travel patterns to reduce accidents
8. Free and high quality training programs for eco-driving
Of course it’s a package and different cities will handle it indifferent ways. And there’s a lot more that can be folded into such a package, but you get the idea! And I hope you will share your ideas about how to fill out this list
All this in combination with high profile projects such as the Paris Free Bikes which everyone sees as positive and which even as we do them not only offer options to car travel, but also and far more subtly work on people’s minds and attitudes (which at the end of the day what this is supposed to be all about).
Now it’s your turn.
Please send your comments and suggestions to the New Mobility Agenda “idea factory, addressing your mail to NewMobilityCafe@yahoogroups.com. I also invite you to share this note with other people and lists who you think might find it useful or better yet wish to join in to make it better.
 IF you call up “Green Cars” in Google you will see more than seven hundred thousand entries. I checked out the firs hundred or so, and none, none was even close to what we are talking about here. Still, I wound not mind if we stole their name, and stole their thunder. I like our Green Cars a lot more.