The Lindells use the Commute Greener app to log how they commute to school and work. Commute Greener is a kind of pedometer for carbon dioxide emissions that can be used to help change our behavioural patterns as regards emissions. Magnus Kuschel is development manager.
What is Commute Greener?
“Think of a pedometer, but now we’re talking about a carbon dioxide counter. Just as the pedometer helped us get on our feet and move and gain insight into how much we ought to walk, so too does Commute Greener help us establish the carbon dioxide concept at the everyday levels we deal with in our daily habits, down to the individual gram and kilogram.”
How does it work?
“Using the Internet or a mobile phone, you answer five simple questions that determine your personal carbon dioxide footprint for transport purposes. We focus on weekday travel during the regular week. Weekday travel represents one-third or more. When we can alter our daily bad habits, we can save a whole lot during an entire lifetime. Everyone can be idealistic and cancel a flight to Thailand, but the real difficulty is to modify one’s everyday habits. When you’ve answered the questions you get a “base line” that you then strive to beat. You can set your personal reduction target and then try week after week to reach that goal. We look at it in three stages: 1) Set your target! 2) Ensure that you reach it. 3) Share your experiences via Facebook and other social media.”
Runkeeper is an app where you log your training. It became very popular in Sweden in 2010. Every time you walk or run or cycle you log the activity and then share your training news on the Net. Are there any such links to health and training with Commute Greener?
“Commute Greener is very similar. The difference is that Runkeeper is easier to start up since everyone already has a firm grasp of the concepts of time and speed. Here we must first establish carbon dioxide as an everyday concept so that it becomes meaningful to the user when he or she notes emissions of 200 g rather than 1.5 kg – the figures have to mean something to the individual. In our next version, due out in another few weeks, we are including a health link via a health index with green heart symbols that add up every week if you are active. A doctor at Sahlgrenska University Hospital has validated the model, which reduces the risk of a heart attack if it is followed. Today many people stress all the way to the gym instead of cycling to work a couple of times a week. By cycling, we save time and have more quality time over for other activities. What is more, cycling is a healthier pulse-enhancing activity than punishing yourself in unrealistic sessions at the gym after sitting still day after day.”
Who is behind the system?
“The basic idea and funding come from the Volvo Group, but Commute Greener is an open innovation system, which means that we encourage many others to be involved. The project includes climate researchers and other companies. A significant part of the operation focuses on getting companies and organisations interested so that their employees can compete in-house.”