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Greening the Black Car

| Wednesday November 12th, 2008 | 4 Comments

PlanetTranGreenTaxi2.jpgWhile NYC is having a hard time clearing the air when it comes to taxis, some claiming they’re not as safe as the 15 mpg relics common on the road now, Boston and San Francisco have a solid option that goes far beyond being a transportation service that’s replaced the black car with a green car.
But let’s start there. Just having a Toyota Prius do the hauling saves 700 gallons of fuel on 1000 fifteen mile trips, and nearly 14,000 pounds of emissions as compared to the usual Crown Vics, Lincoln Town Car (black car) and minivans that rule the roads these days.
Planet Tran takes it further, both in terms of convenience, environmental responsibility, and quantification of impact.


All reservations can be done online, payment method is already in place and unneeded at the time of the actual ride, and receipts are sent the day after, via email, searchable for later retrieval as well.
Like iLinc, the virtual conference service that saves people all having to travel to one spot to have business meetings that features a Green Meter, Planet Tran tells you exactly how much fuel and emissions you’ve saved each time you ride, and collectively how much you as a company have saved. For those setting CO2 reduction goals, this is one aspect that may not have been considered before as a way to achieve that.
I imagine that, given the ability to know such previously non specific information, companies may soon start seeking out other services that likewise quantify their impact (or reduction of it) and demonstrate cost savings. Perhaps you’ll be there with a service that does it?
Readers: What other examples of putting numbers to good intentions are you seeing out there that we should know about? What other ways do you see improving transportation services?
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. His overarching talent is “bottom lining” complex ideas, in a way that is understandable and accessible to a variety of audiences, internal and external to a company.


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  • http://www.google.com/reader/shared/16588789441333941032 Archer

    An automobile is not “green” until the extremely destructive, degenerative manufacturing process is refined to meet the expectations of low-emergy, cradle-to-cradle, life cycle assessment. I don’t know if this statistic is still accurate but in the 1990s we used to say, ‘60% of an automobile’s emissions and pollution are discharged into the environment before the ignition is installed in the factory’.
    I recall that Presidio School of Management has graduated students who have commuted monthly to San Francisco by airplane from Europe. How sustainable is that degree?

  • Durkee Grow

    Archer, come on man, taxis are not going away any time soon. Why not make them better? This is a good thing. As for Presidio, how is one student’s commuting habits the school’s fault? And how is it relevant to this post?

  • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com Paul Smith

    Thanks Durkee. I’ll answer both: It’s greening, not entirely green we’re talking about here. As you point out, there’s a lot of room for improvement. Bring it on, I say! And while we are where we are, improve on how things currently happen, and give people tools to see their (reduced) impact, encouraging them to look for other ways to do it as well.
    As for Presidio, the student you’re likely referring to lived much of the time in San Francisco, and the knowledge, connections, and resources he has gained will enable to him to make a difference far beyond the impact of a few plane flights over 2 years, which he offset.
    He actively sought out a domestic option in Europe to meet the same needs/level of knowledge that Presidio offers. It couldn’t be found, at that time. I’m guessing there is or soon will be something of that nature there.

  • http://www.carbonoffsetsdaily.com Affan Laghari

    @Archer.
    Your first point was very valid indeed as we need to consider the entire lifecycle (which is where DfE and ecodesigning come into place). At the same time, we should do good where ever we can. It’s not rational to be either 100% green or nothing.
    Secondly, though others have already answered, I couldn’t hold myself. Your mention of Presidio was what we call ‘Wrong Place, Wrong Time’.
    This post has nothing to do whatsoever with any school apart from the author’s personal life.
    And even if it does, if a small fish spoils a pond, you don’t blame the pond or other fishes, do you?