I attended the convergence Green Travel Incubator - "Collaborating for the future we want" event in Dublin City Hall today as part of the worldwide Rio +20 event which commemorates the Earth Summit in Rio 20 years ago. The event was a Green Transport Incubator where a number of startup and small green tech companies got to pitch their ideas and all attendees then had the opportunity to discuss them in a pro-action cafe style.
Eoghan Madden (Dublin City Coucil)
Eoghan outlined the transport needs and problems of the city. He gave a brief history of the volume and makeup of the daily traffic coming into Dublin City. They estimate that in the next 10 years, 100,000 EXTRA vehicles will be coming into the city EVERY DAY! He also outlined some novel ideas they have for reducing demand at peak times including innovative ways for removing more service vehicles from key corridors.
GoCar is a car-sharing service (only one in Ireland) which is similar to Zipcar in the United States. The are currently in 16 locations (12 Dublin, 4 Cork), but will grow to 200+ vehicles in the next 12 months! They are also looking into an all-electric fleet in the coming 5 years. Interestingly, their customer base is mostly made up of cyclists and public transport commuters who see GoCar as the alternative to the second family car (for infrequent car journeys). They have recently received new investment and have relaunched their brand.
James Leahy of the Irish Bicycle Business Association (www.ibba.ie) spoke about their flagship program "The Bike To Work" scheme, which in partnership with the government, enables commuters to purchase a bike with a tax-saver reduction of up to 41%. The IBBA is made up of a number of businesses including bike shops, which has helped them to engage with the government in a more efficient manner - with one voice. They hope to grow the use of biking to work in partnership with Dublin City Council and others.
Eoghan created getthere.ie in 2006 having returned from New Zealand, having noticed the poor choice of rideshare options in Ireland. Being from Donegal, his travel options to core centres such as Dublin were often restricted and not practical. GetThere offers a trip planning service for a large number of Bus / Rail operators ASWELL as offering car pooling. He has found success in organising carpooling to large concert evenes and festivals. He has over 80,000 hits to the site per month and would like to grow and monetize the business moving forward so he can take it all on full-time. The work he has done to date is very impressive considering the lack of API-based availability of transit schedules in Ireland!
http://convergence.cultivate.ie/ - Convergence Event Website
www.cultivate.ie - Cultivate Website
www.sustained.ie - Sustainable Business Resources
www.ibba.ie - Irish Bicycle Business Association