Thursday, March 13, 2008

denver's driving change program -- almost!

read the following then see my commentary:

Denver hopes to reduce car emissions by encouraging better driving

The city of Denver has unveiled a "Driving Change" pilot program designed to reduce vehicle greenhouse-gas emissions by encouraging drivers to ease off the lead foot. Starting in May, 400 public and private Denver vehicles, including that of Mayor John Hickenlooper, will have a device installed to monitor time spent braking, idling, accelerating, and speeding. Analyzed results and personalized recommendations for reducing fuel consumption will then be posted on the internet. Vehicles account for approximately 30 percent of Denver's greenhouse-gas emissions, and the program hopes to cut fuel consumption 20 percent among Driving Change participants.

sources: Denver Business Journal, The Denver Post, Associated Press

ok. here's the big problem! the feedback needs to be immediate, and it needs to be relevant. they have relevant ("personalized recommendations") but they don't have immediate ("posted on the internet"). dear lord. have they learned nothing from the prius? prius people drive so strangely because they are playing this game where they are changing their driving behaviors in ways they think might optimize the gas mileage. with these additional indicators, the prius drivers (or the mayor, whatever he's driving) could do a much better job.

put the indicators in the car. they don't have to be dangerous.. which is one comment i hear from some prius drivers who turn off the dashboard because they find it distracting. the indicators can be ambient. use colors! i am going to send this idea to the people administering this program...

UPDATE: i emailed the mayor and the green program staff. hopefully someone sees my email!


neha said...

good idea! but i think even non-immediate feedback is useful -- what if there was a game, and day to day, you see how much you can reduce your mileage? you don't indicate if it goes to the internet immediately, hourly, daily, or what -- if it was close to immediately, you could envision running home to see how you did and comparing with others. that's what the internet offers!

omar said...

no doubt non-immediate feedback is useful, and i like your idea of a competition. competition and social influence are two crucial components of persuasion that can be influenced.

adj said...

I don't necessarily know if this is even for the primary benefit of the actual test drivers in the program. I think a large part of the emphasis is the larger Denver population - they will get news reports summing up general problems with gas consumption and driving I imagine.

"On tonight's news... how to save money on gas! We took 400 drivers - including our own mayor - and saw what they were doing wrong. Let us tell you ten tips on improving your gas mileage simply by driving smarter!"

Yes, I have so much free time that I now watch parts of the evening news. Ugh.