10/10 Commuter Challenge (Finalist.)
Thank you to everyone who spent the time commenting and voting for our project, 10/10 Commuter Challenge. Like our other idea (GardenShare), many of the questions you are asking, we asked ourselves when we set out to design this project. Please read through the comments and my answers.
We think it's time to take the lessons learned from sophisticated demand side management programs in the electricity/gas sector to the transportation sector. Clearly, people in Toronto are open to participating in these types of initiatives. We've changed out our lightbulbs, exchanged our old appliances, and are taking to our smart meters. The opportunities to drive similar behaviour change around commuting habits can help to transform our city. But it's beyond a simple rewards program - it's about creating a vision of how we want to move around. And we think this is the first step in creating that vision.
Some things I'd like to clarify:
1. The plan is to eventually reach 10% of all commuters. But there will be a pilot phase and scaled approach, as we hone our approach.
2. We will have 2 options for commuters: hardware installed in their vehicle or a smartphone app.
3. We will utilize the power of social media to launch and start registering. Summerhill Impact ambassadors will also be present at major events around the city. Partnerships with the private sector will also provide channels to encourage participation.
Please read the great questions and our answers below. It is certainly a challenge to put all of the details of our plan into the format of ClimateSpark. Summerhill Impact has always been successful in finding unique solutions to common problems, and we want people to TAKE ACTION. Our track record in building partnerships with the public and private sector would give investors the confidence that we can rise above many of the barriers discussed in this forum.
We are thrilled to be considered for the next round and we look forward to sharing more details soon with everyone.
Thanks again...and we hope to see you in the next round!
The 10/10 Commuter Challenge is a project aimed at helping motorists in the City of Toronto to reduce their vehicle kilometers travelled (VKT) by providing unique incentives and information. The concept is simple – reward those that limit their commuter trips with incentives that will really motivate them to take action. Through the use of meter technology, each participating motorist will be able to track their VKT and given travel optimization tips, alternate commuting information and messaging about how close they are to their target. The goal is to get people to reduce their VKTs over a set amount of time by 10% - incentives could include 10% off gasoline purchases, 10% off insurance premiums and/or 10% discounts on TTC metropasses.
The program is modeled after the successful 10/10 Summer Challenge Toronto Hydro ran in 2007, which provided a 10% hydro bill discount should a customer reach their 10% conservation target. 29% of eligible customer participated in the program in Year One, with an annual savings of 71 GWh. In Year Two, an opt-in model was used, but 18% of Toronto Hydro customers still participated. We believe people in Toronto are excited and willing to participate in such challenges, and with the right financial rewards, will take action to change their behaviour.
The long term objectives of the program are:
- To engage 10% of motorists in the City of Toronto to reduce their VKTs over a 4 month period by 10%
- To reduce 63,542 tonnes of GHGs
- To encourage Toronto motorists to switch to other mobility options – such as TTC, carpooling, bicycle etc.
- To create a grassroots, social marketing campaign that gets people to take real action in their lives, thus reducing their dependency on their vehicle, improving quality of life and local economic development
We feel this program has great benefit for Toronto by helping to ease traffic congestion, improve air quality, educate thousands of people and create (and ideally win) a conversation about what individuals can do to improve environmental health.
We believe, at its peak, the annual impact of the 10/10 Commuter Challenge would be 63,542 tonnes of GHGs reduced. Here is our rationale:
There are approximately 1.7 million motorists in the GTA (StatsCan). The goal would be to enroll 10% of these commuters (170,000 total).
According to a report published by TAF, Toronto motorists produce about 6,354,256 tonnes of CO2/equivalent. Divided by the total number of motorists, each Toronto commuter emits 3.74 tonnes of GHGs. We are planning to enroll 170,000 motorists and encouraging them all to reduce their VKTs by 10%. This would result in 63,542 tonnes of GHGs.
Engaging the public in behaviour change and actions that lead to environmental and social improvements are essential for addressing climate change, improving air quality, increasing social well-being and supporting the development of progressive public policy.
The commuting public, and in particular, motorists, are an important contributor to the production of greenhouse gas emissions, smog-forming pollutants and traffic congestion, through individual and household transportation patterns. This includes the frequency and quantity of vehicle use, as well as vehicle maintenance, driving behaviour, and the uptake of other commuting options.
Since 2000, Summerhill Impact has been committed to creating and implementing strategic initiatives which generate sustained environmental and social improvements, by developing partnerships and engaging the public, to influence consumer behaviour.
Some of our initiatives and results include:
- Mow Down Pollution (lawnmower retirement program) – 45,650 inefficient mowers and trimmers have been retired, resulting in the reduction of 748 tonnes of greenhouse gas and smog forming emissions
- Retire Your Ride/Car Heaven (vehicle retirement program) – 260,791 old gas guzzling cars have been retired and responsibly recycled since 2000, resulting in 9,900 tonnes of smog-forming emissions
- Switch Out (mercury switch collection) – 477,708 automotive mercury switches collected to date across Canada, representing 278 kg of mercury
- Switch the ‘Stat (mercurt thermostat collection) – over 68,000 thermostats collected, representing 138 kg of mercury
- Keep Cool (room air conditioner retirement) – over 45,600 room air conditioners retired, representing over 30 MW of energy savings
Like every Summerhill initiative, we leverage the needs and resources of the private, public and not-for-profit sector to create actions that sustain environmental results. Summerhill will work with the automotive sector, oil and gas companies, local and provincial governments, transit authorities, and community groups to ensure the 10/10 Commuter Challenge meets its goals.
The venture is meant to be supported in similar fashion to many of Summerhill Impact’s social ventures – through leveraging private and public sector resources to drive social and environmental change. We have long standing partnerships with auto manufacturers, oil and gas companies and government agencies who would all benefit from the outcomes of the 10/10 Commuter Challenge.
We believe the value in the project is also in the data collected about driver habits, and this could propel a self-supporting finance model. Many in the public and private sector would love to know the commuting habits of individual motorists, in an effort to sell add-on goods and services. For example, companies such as GM Goodwrench could sell maintenance packages customized to the driving habits of the 170,000 motorists enrolled in the program. We will develop the plan to monetize this data after an initial Year One pilot. In this sense, we become the “Facebook” of the commuting world.
Secondly, we believe that with the in-car meter/monitoring system and online report cards, there will be options to sell advertising to motorists. This would be limited to messages about ways commuters can reduce their environmental impact through improved vehicle maintenance, as well as shifts to lower-emitting forms of transportation.