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Inside the Mind of a Cabbie

Inside the Mind of a Cabbie

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Published by The RSA
This report examines the experiences, attitudes and working habits of ten taxi drivers taking part in a national campaign to promote fuel efficient driving, supported by Shell
This report examines the experiences, attitudes and working habits of ten taxi drivers taking part in a national campaign to promote fuel efficient driving, supported by Shell

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Published by: The RSA on Jul 26, 2011
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07/10/2013

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INSIDE THE MINDOF A CABBIE
BEYOND THE STEREOTYPES:WHAT DRIVES TAXI DRIVERS?
Smarter Cab Drivers: Interim Report
Jonathan Rowson & Jamie YoungJuly 2011
 
 
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INSIDE THE MIND OF A CABBIE
BEYOND THE STEREOTYPES: WHAT DRIVES TAXI DRIVERS?
 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
With many thanks to the taxi drivers who gave up their time or this research; Abdi Muse-Mohamed,Amar Alta, Amer Alam, Ansar Mahmood, Arshad Ali, John Hurley, John Lydon, Paul McCormick,Pete Tyler and Phillip Caston. Thanks also to sta at Oce or Public Management and BlueRubicon or assistance with the research and logistics respectively. We are grateul to Shell orunding this research, which comprises part o the Shell and RSA Smarter Cab Drivers project.The RSA retained ull editorial control over the content o this report.
 ABOUT THE RSA
The RSA is an enlightenment organisation committed to nding innovative practical solutionsto today’s social challenges. Through its ideas, research and 27,000-strong Fellowship it seeks tounderstand and enhance human capability so we can close the gap between today’s reality andpeople’s hopes or a better world.In the light o new challenges and opportunities or the human race our purpose is to develop andpromote new ways o thinking about human ullment and social progress which speaks directlyto our strapline — 21st century enlightenment.RSA Projects put enlightened thinking to work in practical ways. By researching, designing andtesting new social models, we encourage a more inventive, resourceul and ullled society.
 
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INSIDE THE MIND OF A CABBIE
BEYOND THE STEREOTYPES: WHAT DRIVES TAXI DRIVERS?
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
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.
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 This paper speaks to these modest but very necessary opportunities and objectives, and ormspart o the eort to shit 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 eciently might thereore serve as an instructiveexample to the rest o us.
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This report examines the experiences, attitudes and working habits o ten taxi drivers takingpart in a national campaign to promote uel ecient driving, supported by Shell. The campaignis built around a competition in July 2011 between twenty cabbies, all o whom have receivedinormation on uel ecient behaviours. The driving behaviours o sixteen o the twentyparticipating cabbies are measured by telemetry, while our drivers are sel-assessed, to explorethe impact o dierent 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 dened quantitative dimensionsthat can be targeted by technological and policy interventions. Yet the human dimensionunderlying the technical problem means that climate change is more prooundly 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 Proessor DanHeietz, the most common ailure o leadership involves ailing to grasp it. Technical problemscan be simplied, 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,
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which ocused on disseminatinginormation on uel eciency, the RSA is seeking to deepen our understanding o how we mightassist in turning helpul inormation about uel into enduring dispositions or drivers. Shell’suel save tips comprise nineteen pieces o advice, ranging rom choice o oil, driving speed, carweight, personal comort and journey planning.
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 As an exploratory pilot study, we chose to ocus the enquiry on the uel eciency o hackneycarriage drivers. Taxi drivers seemed an ideal target group, not merely because o theirproessional interest in reducing costs, but because their proessional 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 quiteamiliar, described by the drivers as ‘common sense’. However, knowing something and doing(or not doing) it are very dierent things. The key question or this project is what we can dowith inormation 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 beperormed without prompts or conscious thought, and contagious, such that it spreads throughsocial diusion to other drivers and passengers.
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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)
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Shell Energy Scenarios to 2050: An Era of Volatile Transitions
, ShellInternational 2011
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‘Eciency’ is a contested term whichwe will examine in more detail in our nalreport, but here it simply means that theenergy is not wasted.
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Forum or the Future,
Smarter drivers,Smarter choices,
2010
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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 roorack 15.Plan trips careully 16.Avoid rushhour 17.Use the correct oil. 18. Checkyour air lters 19. Tune and service yourengine.
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For the importance o behaviourbecoming habitual, please see theorthcoming report rom the RSASocial Brain Project, provisionally titled:‘Socialising with the Brain: RefexiveSolutions to Adaptive Challenges’. Forthe power o social diusion, see theRSA Connected Communities Report:http://www.thersa.org/__data/assets/pd_le/0006/333483/ConnectedCommunities_report_150910.pd

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