INSIDE THE MIND OF A CABBIE
BEYOND THE STEREOTYPES: WHAT DRIVES TAXI DRIVERS?
Shell’s energy scenarios up to 2050 include a oreboding ‘Scramble’ scenario in which the patho least resistance in the present leads to heightened global tensions over uel. However, thereis also a ‘Blueprints’ scenario in which ‘coalitions o interests’ begin to adapt to the scale o the challenge, and positive outcomes are built up rom the distributed pursuit o individuallymodest opportunities and objectives.
This paper speaks to these modest but very necessary opportunities and objectives, and ormspart o the eort to shit the public mood in support o the long term solutions needed to dealwith anthropogenic climate change. In this respect, while energy scarcity is an issue or everybody,some eel the pinch o this scarcity more than others. Those who ll up their uel tanks ona daily basis as part o their working routine, like taxi drivers, are particularly motivated notto waste uel, and their attempts to use uel eciently might thereore serve as an instructiveexample to the rest o us.
This report examines the experiences, attitudes and working habits o ten taxi drivers takingpart in a national campaign to promote uel ecient driving, supported by Shell. The campaignis built around a competition in July 2011 between twenty cabbies, all o whom have receivedinormation on uel ecient behaviours. The driving behaviours o sixteen o the twentyparticipating cabbies are measured by telemetry, while our drivers are sel-assessed, to explorethe impact o dierent kinds o eedback. The sample o ten drivers examined here receivedsome additional help to change their behaviours through their active engagement with ourresearch process, a behaviour change workshop on June 16th hosted by the RSA, and the designinterventions that were co-created at that event.
Section ve o this report outlines how weattempted to make use o the ndings below to target our behaviour change interventions and helpthem to save uel.
FUEL EFFICIENT BEHAVIOUR AS AN ADAPTIVE CHALLENGE
Climate change is partly a technical problem, in that it has well dened quantitative dimensionsthat can be targeted by technological and policy interventions. Yet the human dimensionunderlying the technical problem means that climate change is more prooundly an adaptivechallenge, requiring changes in attitude, values and behaviour on an unprecedented scale.This distinction between technical solutions and adaptive challenges is important or thisproject and climate change more generally. Indeed, according to Harvard Proessor DanHeietz, the most common ailure o leadership involves ailing to grasp it. Technical problemscan be simplied, instrumentalised, and addressed with amiliar tools, but adaptive challengeslike climate change require us to ace up to complexity, and require resh human refection,responsibility and insight. This interim report speaks to the kind o under-labour requiredto think about energy use and misuse as an adaptive human challenge, by gaining a deeperunderstanding o a particular sub-set o motivated energy users.Following rom Shell’s ‘Smarter Drivers’ campaign in 2010,
which ocused on disseminatinginormation on uel eciency, the RSA is seeking to deepen our understanding o how we mightassist in turning helpul inormation about uel into enduring dispositions or drivers. Shell’suel save tips comprise nineteen pieces o advice, ranging rom choice o oil, driving speed, carweight, personal comort and journey planning.
As an exploratory pilot study, we chose to ocus the enquiry on the uel eciency o hackneycarriage drivers. Taxi drivers seemed an ideal target group, not merely because o theirproessional interest in reducing costs, but because their proessional identity involves theirdriving expertise and their singular capacity to infuence passengers.Some o the Shell tips have limited relevance to cab drivers (e.g. roo racks) and most are quiteamiliar, described by the drivers as ‘common sense’. However, knowing something and doing(or not doing) it are very dierent things. The key question or this project is what we can dowith inormation to help make a more enduring impact on behaviour. The RSA are particularlyinterested in the potential or positive behaviour change to become habitual, so that it can beperormed without prompts or conscious thought, and contagious, such that it spreads throughsocial diusion to other drivers and passengers.
A man takes a job,you know? Andthat job — I mean,like that — thatbecomes what heis… You do a thingand that’s whatyou are. Like I’vebeen a cabbie or thirteen years…
Taxi Driver (1976)
Shell Energy Scenarios to 2050: An Era of Volatile Transitions
, ShellInternational 2011
‘Eciency’ is a contested term whichwe will examine in more detail in our nalreport, but here it simply means that theenergy is not wasted.
Forum or the Future,
Smarter drivers,Smarter choices,
The ull set o tips are included in ShellFuelSave Tips by Peter Adams, Engineand Vehicle Technology Scientist, June2011: 1.Choice o uel matters 2.Drivesmoothly 3.Use higher gears 4.Avoidexcess idling 5.Avoid over-revving 6.Avoid high speeds 7.Keep your distance.8.Conserve momentum 9.Use cruisecontrol 10.Avoid excess weight 11. Keepyour tyres at the right pressure 12.Useair conditioning sparingly 13.Keep thewindows closed. 14. Remove your roorack 15.Plan trips careully 16.Avoid rushhour 17.Use the correct oil. 18. Checkyour air lters 19. Tune and service yourengine.