"Local Changes Added Up" - Some Updates and Results from LocalMotion 2009

The LocalMotion Project in Parkallen provided the City with an ideal opportunity to pilot some new ideas and programs that encourage and show-case eco-friendly transportation. As with any new project, there was a lot of evaluating and collecting of numbers!

Over 270 residents, or 12% of the households in Parkallen, signed up for the LocalMotion Challenge and tracked their car kilometres during the month of May and then again in June when they committed to try to drive less. Challenge participants drove 13,534 fewer kilometres from May to June, or an average of 400 kilometres less per household for the month of June. This is four times higher than our goal and equals approximately 3979 kg less CO2 emissions!

The Challenge results are great but they are just one part of the picture. What about the rest of the neighbourhood? While we have no way of definitively tracking how every resident of Parkallen travelled in May and June, the numbers give us a pretty good idea. Here is a sampling of what was gathered to measure the results:

  1. A random and representative telephone survey, which included travel logs, was conducted in Parkallen and in three comparable communities as a baseline. The survey, conducted by Banister Research, featured 3 waves of phone calls and trip-tracking in May, June and September. Banister phone survey and travel log results from May and June: - 31% of Parkallen residents surveyed indicated that LocalMotion has impacted their traveling behaviour. - 25% have increased their use of public transportation - 26% have increased their use of a bicycle - 28% have started to walk more - 32% made more eco-friendly transportation choices for local or nearby trips -The mean total vehicle kilometres traveled (VKT) by Parkallen residents participating in the survey decreased by 27% from May to June
  2. Cordon counts were done to measure vehicle volumes at various Parkallen locations Vehicle volumes at six intersections in Parkallen decreased between 21% and 34% from April to June. Volumes decreased between 2% and 8% at three other intersections.
  3. Signal data was collected from select pedestrian crossings in Parkallen in May and June. Pedestrian signal actuation (the number of times a signal was activated by a pedestrian) data shows an increase in usage of 7.7% from May to June. This would seem to indicate an increase in the number of pedestrians.
  4. LocalMotion Challenge: Challenge participants drove 13,534 fewer kilometres in June, resulting in an approximate reduction of 400 kilometres per household. This was 4 times higher than our target. The CO2 savings was 3,979 kg. The neighbourhood of Parkallen is made up of 1,200 households. Of these, 12% (approximately 271 residents) registered for the Challenge; one of many activities offered under the umbrella of LocalMotion.
  5. Feedback from the community was gathered through e-mails, Survey Monkey and a "feedback-wall" at the community block party. These comments are valuable in providing us with some insight into how people responded to LocalMotion and what they thought of various activities and the project as a whole.  "It has made us more mindful of how we get around our community",  "It was fun! It brought the community together and helped us to identify common interests and philosophies; It was structured in a way that provided a challenge to everyone. It was inclusive and not judgmental."  "...we have really changed our transportation methods. We view the month as a tremendous success" What Next? The LocalMotion Challenge, a special event, and the Eco-Mobility Try It Library are all being considered for on-going programs. We are now looking at ways of improving and re-working each of these so that that they can be brought to other parts of Edmonton. Thank You Parkallen for being a part of LocalMotion and showing that ‘Local Change Can Add Up!"

More Updates

Great News for Active Transportation

At the Transportation & Public Works Committee meeting on Nov. 17th, 2009, the Committee approved both an Active Transportation Policy and an accelerated funding strategy for the Sidewalk Strategy and Bicycle Transportation Plan update. Both still need to be approved by full City Council. This is great news as it will provide enhanced capital funding to complete the work of both plans over a ten year time frame.

View the reports and information at:

Thank you Claire

Claire Ellick, the City's intrepid Bicycle Planning Engineer, is leaving the City for family reasons. She is moving to Burnaby, B.C. where she will be employed with the City of Burnaby. There she will continue with bicycle planning and community-related transportation planning. Claire shouldered the lion’s share of the Transportation Dept's work in bring the Local Motion project to life and will be sorely missed.

Winter Cycling tips from Claire

You enjoyed a summer of bike riding, now it’s time to gear up for your winter bicycle commute! Here are some tips to make it fun and safe.

Layering! Dressing for a cold weather cycle commute uses the same layering approach as other cold weather activities. Layering your clothing will allow you to add and remove layers based on how warm or cool you feel. Experiment with different combinations of clothing to see what works for you. Remember that you don’t want to overheat or get too cold and always remember to maintain maneuverability. Multiple thin layers can work well for this!

Visibility! The Provincial Traffic Safety Act defines bicycles as vehicles so cyclists have the same rights to the road as motorists and must follow the same rules. All bicycles must have a bell, a red rear reflector and, if riding at night, a white front and red rear light. In winter this is particularly important as reduced hours of daylight can often mean a dark commute to work or to the grocery store! Wearing light-coloured clothing and reflective materials can help make you more visible to other road users. Many shops sell rolls of reflective tape which you can use to add visibility to a jacket or bag.

Your Extremities! This is where you will lose circulation first in cold weather so ensure your head feet and hands are well covered. When fitting a toque or headband underneath your helmet, be sure to re-adjust the helmet as needed to ensure that it is still snug and fits firmly on your head. There are many gloves and mittens available that work well for cycling but remember that you’ll need to maintain dexterity to brake and shift while holding your handlebars. Gloves, or even lobster mittens, work well on those extra cold days!

Maintenance! Keep your bicycle in good repair! Because of all of the extra dirt, gravel and slush on the roadway in winter, you will need to clean and lubricate your chain regularly. Wipe down your bike at the end of the day to keep it clean and to reduce build-up of slush and salt. If you can, store your bike in a place that is protected from rain, slush and snow.

Have fun and remember a mug of hot chocolate can be a warming treat when you arrive at your destination 

For more information

Be Idle Free

With all the information about the problems of car idling, it can be confusing to know how much is too much. But a new City of Edmonton program is hoping to answer that question once and for all.

How can you become idle free?

*Reduce your warm-up idling to less than a minute, assuming your vehicle windows are clear.

*If you are going to be stopped for more than a minute, except in traffic, turn off your engine.

*In temperatures below -15C, use a block heater to warm the engine.

The Alberta Motor Association (AMA) says that not only does idling harm car engines through the build up of water condensation and fuel residue, but idling a car to warm it in winter is useless since parts like the transmission and wheel bearings only warm with driving. See www.ama.ab.ca for information.

For more information on the City of Edmonton’s Be Idle Free: A Minute or Less is Best campaign