6th April 2011

More great ideas from GeoVation finalists

Viv Alexander

More ideas today which were chosen to go forward to the GeoVation Showcase on 4 May.

Today, you can find out more about Carbon Voyage’s Sustainable Mobility Platform,  Mission:Explore’s idea to help more families use the National Cycle Network and OurMeetingPoint, developed by Kate Pangbourne of the University of Aberdeen.

Three ideas were described yesterday and there will be more on the blog tomorrow.   If you want to see these and other ideas pitch for a slice of £150 000 funding from Ideas in Transit plus an award for the best use of OS OpenData register here for the GeoVation Showcase to be held at Ordnance Survey on 4 May.

Carbon Voyage: Sustainable Mobility Platform
Problem
Transport is responsible for almost a quarter of all carbon emissions. Most commercial road transport is empty 30% of the time and 84% of all commuter journeys in cars only have single occupants. Congestion, partly a side effect of this inefficiency, creates additional costs. Getting people to travel more sustainably can be difficult to achieve particularly as access to the right information and ticketing options is not always available. As a result, it is harder for organisations to measure the impact of commuting and business travel and to incentivise staff properly.
Solution
The solution we are proposing is to incorporate a public transport tool within our sustainable mobility platform; while already have an informed personal travel tool, it doesn’t allow a user to compare public transport with their existing transport options. Providing user choice should help staff to travel more sustainably, and if this tool can link in management information, it may allow organisations to understand the impact made through staff travelling in more sustainable ways, and incentivise them appropriately. Adding in a ticketing element to this may also facilitate opportunities for to have corporate/ organisational schemes for using public transport.
Execution
Manchester will be a likely pilot location given existing links with organisations there; it will also correspond closely with research done by Manchester Business School that we have been involved in. Manchester has a very disaggregated public transport system, so it would be possible to generate some quick wins. It will be of use to run a pilot in London where there is a more integrated public transport system to allow a comparison to occur. Part of the pilot activity would be to explore the feasibility of incorporating a ticketing solution into this product offering.
About Carbon Voyage: More information about Carbon Voyage can be found on the website.

Mission:Explore Nature using the National Cycle Network
Our team includes The Geography Collective (a national partnership of geography educators), The Workshop (an interactive agency based in Sheffield), Sustrans National Cycle Network (the national sustainable transport charity) and AMV BBDO (a major creative advertising an brand management agency) working on Arla’s (the dairy company behind Cravendale and Lactofree milk) Kids Closer to Nature campaign (an effort to bring as many children closer to nature as they can).
Our GeoVation tackles two major problems. The National Cycle Network is made up of over 20,000km of signed routes along traffic free paths and quiet roads and lanes. The first problem is that while this massive piece of integrated infrastructure is reasonably well used by commuters and long-distance cyclists it is neglected by families for specific activities such as exploring nature. The second problem, and one that is frequently in the media, is that children are experiencing nature less.
GeoVation supported Mission:Explore in 2010. We want to build on our experience and use the successful platform that we have already created to increase the desire, improve the perception and develop the habits which will lead to more children and families using the National Cycle Network to experience nature. Through the use of QR and other codes, gaming and a range of incentives our GeoVation will create new kinds of journeys that will change experiences, destinations and habits.

OurMeetingPoint
Face to face meetings will always be important, but there is still much scope to reduce business travel. In a nutshell, OurMeetingPoint is an accessible tool for managing meetings that integrates the calendar element of meeting making with journey planning. It is designed to identify the most suitable location to hold a meeting based on the originating location of participants and criteria such as time, mode, cost or carbon. Business travel represents a massive cost to companies, yet is often hidden, non-transparent or taken for granted. No-one has yet produced a tool to streamline the complex process of organising meetings and business travel, with the added twist of finding more cost-effective geographic locations to hold meetings. The meeting organiser is able to select suitable meeting location subject to criteria that can be set by company policy. Each time the tool is used, the trade-offs between time, cost and carbon become more transparent, helping businesses to meet CSR and environmental management targets and control meeting costs. The tool will incorporate links for venue finding, ticket purchase or virtual conferencing, enabling organisers and participants to retain control and preferences whilst providing subtle nudges to behaviour. For small and medium sized businesses the tool the benefits of using travel agencies and meetings management providers at much lower cost.

OurMeetingPoint has been developed by Kate Pangbourne, a post-doctoral research fellow in Geography and Environment and associate of the Centre for Transport Research at the University of Aberdeen. Kate collaborates closely with Computing Scientists on the PolicyGrid project, experience which coupled with her knowledge of geography and transport issues inspired her GeoVation entry. In Kate’s team is talented student Angela Curl (also Centre for Transport Research at Aberdeen). Angela’s PhD is researching how individual perceptions of accessibility may differ from official measures.