Pedal power by New Latin America
An initative thar reduce green house gases emissions; while you generate electricity, get a healthier life and reduce vehicular traffic.
The initiative is to build bicycle routes that connect strategic points of the city. In each bicycle parking strategic point, users could choose to either rent a bike or get a parking space to leave their bicycle, at affordable prices. Several cities around the world have already implemented this system, however, "Pedal Power" differs from the others because the user will be generating electricity while driving the bike and will be encouraged to use the service through a bonus system to award points to users, where they will also be informed about the profits of using bikes.
The initiative would also promote a healthier life, generate incomes and work opportunities. It would be the first bicycle system in Bolivia and the first transport in system in all over the world who reward you when you use it and inform you about your contribution to the earth and the benfits that you are getting by usng it.
What actions do you propose?
To implement this project is necessary to build and modify bicycle paths in the streets and avenues of the city. The paths should be properly marked and secure. The routes would be developed according to strategic points of high influx of people, especially youth. With the aim of promoting culture, education and welfare; routes will be stablish between parks, museums, libraries, universities and cultural centers. In addition a route that crosses emblematic places of the city will be created to promote tourism.
The strategic points will have bicycle parking installations with different capacities, based on the number of users who attend the site. Upon entering each point the user must carry a personal digital card where they can recharge credit to use the service. When purchasing a card, user will create a profile online; which will register all activity related to the service.
Each bike will have a power generator, alternator, battery, georeferencing system and a screen that records the distance and travel time. By leaving the rented bicycle, the user will use the personal identification card system, which trough the georeferencing installed system will store the distance and travel time to estimate the amount of energy generated during the ride. The system will also provide the user with data related with the usage of service such as estimation of calories burned and the amount of CO2 avoided for using the service instead other types of transportation.
By accessing to their online profile users can look at the statistical recording of the data generated during their travels. Users can compare its performance with other user ones. Through the cumulative distances the user can observe the total energy produced, amount of CO2 saved by avoiding other transport systems, money saved and other data that will help to raise awareness about the importance of using sustainable transport alternatives.
Each user will get points for using the service. The points system will grant bonus points for the distance traveled and the number of times that use the service. A healthy competition will be promoted between users; where people with more points will be rewarded. The awards consist of months of free use, gifts provided by sponsors and public recognition by the authorities. Every month the municipality will recognize the best user. These actions will encourage the use and generation of awareness of the advantages obtained by using this service. This project should be integrated into an environmental and road safety education; with the aim of encouraging the use of the service and educate people to avoid accidents.
Who will take these actions?
Key actors of the project are the users, the service provider, municipality, national government, educational and cultural centers, international organizations and private companies. Users are the heart of the system and it’s necessary to generate interest through the dissemination of the benefits of using the service compared to other transport services. The service provider will be responsible for implementing and managing the proposed system. The provider can be a municipal, state-owned or private company subcontracted by the central government or municipality.
The city and national government are in charge of finance, administration, evaluation, regulation and legislation of the project. Educational and cultural centers are responsible for disseminating the initiative and initiatives; and promote the results. International organizations will play an important role as may be potential sources of financing, buyers in the carbon market and promoters of the initiative worldwide. Private companies play an important role in the economic sustainability because they can act as sponsors of the system.
Where will these actions be taken?
It’s estimated that by 2030, Latin America will increase its population by 12% and a massive migration from rural areas to urban areas will increase the population in urban areas. The lack of purchasing power, in addition with low oil prices and the local production of the fossil fuels in many Latin America countries; limited the access to more sustainable renewable energies in the region. Also, it is very difficult for people to opt for buying more efficient cars, due their high price.
Due to the topography and poor urban organization, many cities in Latin America have limited opportunities to build urban mass transportation. Trends in food consumption are increasing obesity in the region and excessive workload force people to be sedentary. Likewise, Latin America has the second highest percentage of young people worldwide; a niche market potential for implementing environmentally sustainable initiatives.
We therefore propose the implementation of this project in the city of La Paz, the crowded city in Bolivia with over 2.5 million of habitants. The mountainous topography limits the creation of mass transportation such as metros and trains; however, the width of the main routes is ideal to development bicycle routes.
The existing urban transport can’t supply the demand of the growing population and vehicular traffic has become one of the main problems of the city. Bolivia currently subsidizes fuel prices, which means a big expense for the state; so they are widely interested in implementing and funding more sustainable forms of transport.
Finally, there are various controversies that have formed around the practice of sports in the city of La Paz, due to the high altitude above sea level (3600 m). However, Bolivians defend the right to practice sport in La Paz because it is our place of origin and has been practiced there for years. This initiative will help promote this campaign worldwide.
How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?
An average person contributes 61.5 g of of CO2/km when use public transport and 198 g of CO2/km when use private transport. Based on estimates calculated in similar projects in Latin America (Quito and Bogota); on average, 0.25% of the population uses the service every day and cover a distance of 4 km. It is estimated that only 20% of the urban population of La Paz used private vehicles to transport. Based on these calculations, users would travel a distance of 2,790,853 km/year avoiding the emission of 248 tons of CO2. In addition, the use of bicycles generate an estimated of 8721 MW/year, which are generated by a form of energy with zero CO2 emissions. When compared to the amount of CO2 emitted per kilowatt produced by fossil fuels in developing countries (610 g); the project would avoid the emission of 5230 tons of CO2. This give us a total catch of 5568 tons CO2/year; which is equivalent to the total amount of CO2 captured per year in 497 hectares of tropical forest.
What are other key benefits?
The project will promote a healthier life; reducing the risk of obesity, heart attacks, diabetes and hypertension. Likewise, it has been proven that 30 minutes of daily exercise increases levels of serotonin; reducing anxiety, avoiding depression and making us happier. It will also contribute to the fulfill the goal of 150 minutes of weekly exercise recommended by WHO and to burn energy stored in the body (75 Cal / km). The routes will promote tourism and increase the visit to cultural, educational and recreational centers in the city.
The environmental and road education will generate awareness in over 200 schools in the city. The project will generate more than 200 direct jobs and about 300 indirect through the manufacture of bicycles and roads construction. The sale of services, electricity and carbon will generate net incomes of $11,603,440 over the first 15 years that will be used to cover the maintenance costs of investment 9 other projects in different cities of Latin America.
What are the proposal’s costs?
In its initial phase the project involves the construction of 3 routes with 20 stops and 3000 bicycles. We estimate to increase infrastructure investment of 5% annually during the first 5 years, 10% within four years and 20% in the tenth year in relation to the initial investment. The initial cost of investment is $2,710,000 (U$S 360,000 in roads construction, $400,000 in parking infrastructure, operating system and card dispensers; and $1,950,000 bicycles). The investment over the next nine years is $2,032,500 with a total investment of $4,742,500.
The annual variable costs consist of $100,000 in operating costs and $156,000 in maintenance costs; both with annual percentage increases equivalent to increases in investment. Every year a budget of $60,000 for the implementation of Road and environmental education will be assigned.
Incomes will proceed from sale of services ($0.3 bicycle rental per hour,$0.02 park fee for 4 hours and $3 electronic card fee), sale of CO2 captured ($7.4/ ton of CO2) and the sale of electricity generated ($0.09/kW). Estimates were made in base of a number of users equal to 0.25% of the total population of the city, with an increase in the number of users of 4% of the number of initial users and an average daily travel distance of 4 km. In addition it is estimated to perceive $500,000 annually from the sale of propaganda spaces on bicycles and infrastructure to private companies nationwide. The net income for the project over 10 years is $7,531,801.06, with a period of return on investment of three years and an IRR of 42%.
A negative effect of the implementation of the project is the opposed by the owners of mass transit service in La Paz. When the air gondola was implemented in the city, they showed rejection of the initiative. To counter the problem and promote less use of cars, work positions will be offered to them.
In the short term, during the first five years the vision is to establish a successful enterprise to start disseminating the initiative throughout Latin America. From 5 to 15 years, the vision is to expand the project to nine other cities in Latin America: Santa Cruz, Cochabamba, Arequipa, Cuenca, Cali, Caracas, Fortaleza, Córdoba and Valparaiso. Also during this time the initiative should be promoted worldwide through events like cycling marathons, conferences and scientific researches to support the impacts of the project. At the end of 15 years the project will have 57 stops in 12 routes throughout the city of the city of La Paz, with 8550 bikes available for users.
In the medium term will seek to disseminate the initiative in Central America, the Caribbean and Africa. In addition, industrialize the production of bicycles to reduce production costs and by a research department to develop more efficient models ok bicycles and new forms of energy production.
In the long term, the objective is to enter in the Asian, European and North American markets with highly efficient and innovative technologies. The manufacturing of products will be promoted in developing countries and the project will be integrated with other global initiatives that seek to promote environmental protection and mitigation to climate change.
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