The Green Revolution seems like a broad general term that most people wish was alot less about marketing hype, and alot more market-driven hope. In this particular case though, it also represents a small firm that is offering to realize a form of people-powered green energy that could soon be available in your very own local gym. All it took to get these power-generating stationary bikes rolling was the opportunistic vision of a LEED’s certified entrepreneur and the adept experience of a mechanical engineer to finally put the pieces together. At which point the fitness industry finally has a personalized way to use Ontario’s fancy new feed-in “smart meters” to monetize their investments, and springboard into some ‘green’ marketing strategies of their own.
Evidently, the fellows behind “The Green Revolution” not only realized just how much energy was being burned off in most exercise gyms (as most members already suspect), but they’ve also followed through on this potential energy with the next logical steps in developing a system that could put all that wasted energy to better use. At least in terms of marketing power and symbolic carbon credits…Whatever those turn out to actually be!
A lot of Torontonian’s would agree to the notion that newly elected Mayor Rob Ford rode a wave of discontent in to office, by stirring up public contempt and dissatisfaction against big easy targets like overspending and waste. Among the many populist positions he took to ride such waves of public opinion was the greatly trumped up “War on Cars”, and the enormous frustrations that most people in Toronto feel about our now infamously long commute times, and notoriously noxious and congested roadways. But aside from the fact that the downtown core was never laid out and designed to carry this much surface, much less subterranean, traffic…Why should we get bogged down in these wars of words and rhetoric, where motorists, and cyclists and perhaps someday even pedestrians get turned against each other…Often to just serve short term political ends.
It might seem obvious to take a more collective approach to solving traffic related issues, but before taking a slide down that slippery slope of self-interests, perhaps we could at least declare a truce in the War on Cars. Not with some egotistical remark from some individual politician or lowly blogger, but with just one more example of how truly ridiculous the entire notion (and election platform pillar) really is.
Anybody who’s been anywhere near a moving electric car has probably been astounded by the stealth of it’s silent approach, but this became a safety concern for some special interest groups, who felt that industry standards were needed for everyone’s greater safety. The question isn’t so much ‘why’, as much as it is ‘how’ this noise will be made, and ‘what’ will it sound like? So, back in 2008, the experts at the Geneva-based United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the body responsible for harmonizing global vehicle regulations, started working on a set of minimum noise standards designed to prevent the uber-quiet Electric Vehicles (EV’s) from becoming a safety risk to Pedestrians – particularly young children and the blind. The results of this initiative are the Vehicle Sound for Pedestrians (VSP) standards, which we can already see (uhm ‘hear’) demonstrated in the new Nissan Leaf.
After having to delve into the underhanded PR methods that were used to develop and support the temporary Police State that was invoked during Toronto’s G20 Summit, it’s still rather difficult to remind ourselves of the beneficial roles that PR plays in forming and supporting Public Opinion. Rather than rehashing the litany of horrifying physical abuses and civil rights violations from last weekend though, let’s attempt to remind ourselves the role that PR can play in creating an orderly and peaceful society.
Here’s a great little piece of German PR that really helps put a proper perspective on how so many many more people could manage to peacefully use public roadways everyday… if they weren’t taking up so much more space with single-occupancy cars.
In case we’ve forgotten…Here’s what a clear and beneficial PR Message looks like:
Just recently, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) was glad to announce that 91% of its buses will soon be equipped with bike racks for this Summer, and despite how little they may actually be getting used, during this ongoing and surprisingly slow adoption phase, the TTC remains upbeat on the service. At just over $2 million for the upgrade, most Cyclists and Mass Transit proponents consider this a pretty economical way to encourage new ‘multi-modal’ Ridership for years to come. Yet even the most positive pundits would likely have presumed that this initiative had already shown sufficient feasibility to proceed to this level of service though, so many people are wondering why the TTC has installed these racks right across their entire fleet before showing some early success on key routes. Most people didn’t even realize that Toronto had bike racks until they started seeing them for themselves. The resulting question then, is why has the adoption rate for this service been so sluggish to during this period? Is this simply a mishandled piece of Public Relations?
Obviously, the hardcore Cycling Commuters aren’t going to trade in their winter tires for metropasses, and all the existing TTC Riders probably won’t suddenly swayed into taking a bike along with them on their regular daily commute just for kicks. Yet surely there are all sorts of new possibilities and benefits that this service opens up for consideration, even though we’re left to find these for ourselves. At the very least, these Bike Racks would appear to be a simple and (relatively) economical way to either draw more Riders into the transit fold, or benefit current users with the option to cycle in or away from their first or last stop, all while laying some basic groundwork for the future of grass-roots growth in Transit ridership overall….So what’s the holdup in moving ahead with it?
Is there an issue with Public Perceptions?
Or does the problem start down at the source of most Mainstream Media Content nowadays ?
Our News Media has clearly been pandering to the Public desire to “Go Green” by chasing down existing stories to support a more ecological point of view, yet what has it done to actually update our social views on Consumption and the prevailing Car Culture? In order to at least take a more productive personal view of our worsening traffic congestion problems, let’s try to put aside our presumed right to drive around in our already over-crowded urban centers in near-empty automobiles as solo occupants. Pausing for a moment to consider an alternative way of traveling, where instead of driving ourselves around in big empty cars and struggling to find parking at every stop, we instead saw ourselves enjoying the freedom of biking around our local destinations after piggy-backing on buses for the longer haul distances in between…and from there considering what other resources are available to feel the needs, currently being met with generally wasteful and problematic automobile traffic.
Go Transit is a name that’s been synonymous with ‘commuting’ since it was first established by the Government of Ontario in 1967. Most Commuters in Southern Ontario are already quite familiar with the essential services provided through GO Transit to nearly 55 million passengers a year via a transport network that spans over 10,000 square kilometers. Yet many might still be surprised to learn just how progressively expansive the reach of the entire organization really is, just by peering behind the scenes to see what’s being projected (and already underway!) within Metrolinx – The overseeing and organizing agency for GO Transit, which provisions us all with an enormous operating network of trusted GO trains and buses!