GP: On the Train Towards the Future - OTTF! - Regional PDF Print E-mail

An international project on the interconnected themes of Sustainable Mobility, Climate Change, and Carfree Communities…


Summary: The Programme/How we work on a national basis

Basic strategy:

OTTF is a communication project about the three inter-connected themes of sustainable mobility, climate change and carfree communities.

In OTTF, the introduction of a new railway or public transport vehicle, infrastructure and/or programmes is used as an “ambassador” or “bridge” to our themes, encouraging a better understanding about them with the public, business and government sectors, in order to increase interest in and gain the skills needed to create a more sustainable society.
Each new introduction is an OTTF “module”. Modules are generally focused on a municipality and/or region, and possibly grouped together at a minimum on the national level (due to common language and media, political decision making and financial sources) and also trans-national (for implementation of the same system in more than one country or for cross-border projects).
OTTF staff may contact railway producers or government/railway/public transport operators at any time, but only after a contract is signed with a producer of deliverables (railcars, track upgrades, etc) will OTTF staff contact all the relevant actors (e.g. for new trams for Wroclaw: MPK Wroclaw, the municipality of Wroclaw, possibly the regional government and Škoda Transportation) with a concrete proposal for a programme of activities to be realized around the time of the introduction of the new feature to the public.

Important points:
· OTTF does not advocate or lobby for a particular winner in a tender. This is why it remains as neutral as possible* until a contract is signed. The infosheet-visualisations used to communicate information about the project will not include information on a particular vehicle, etc until a contract is signed by operator and manufacturer.
· The activities are realized for the general public in order to reach the broadest cross-section of the population when, for example, a vehicle enters normal fare service, rather than at an exclusive event or one just for politicians, media, railway fans, etc.
* OTTF may work with a particular contracted company at the same time the company is trying to win another contract.

Description of planned activities (Pre-production, production, realization, dissemination)
Pre-production of a Module
From mid-2005 to present and continuing

1. Outreach to various railway entities (at conferences, trade shows etc.)
2. Research on various railway projects (invitations to tender, announcements of contracts, general information gathering on strategies)
3. Initial agreements for partnership with railway entities
4. Strategic meetings with NGO partners
5. Production and distribution of “infosheet/visualizations” in advance of or after contracts are signed
6. Researching, writing and submitting funding applications
7. Securing development or “seed” funding for the pre-production period

The goal of the pre-production period of OTTF is securing funding and agreements for production of one or more of the modules.

Production of a Module

Production starts when the first agreement or agreements for realization of a module are signed. While pre-production of other modules will continue, at this point the project becomes “public”. Plans are concretized with relevant actors (such as dates when activities will happen), a hiring process of local and national staff and development of educational and other resources will begin. Initial, advance press releases will be sent out (e.g. “Introduction of new EMUs by PKP Regional to include extensive environment education programme”) and local non-railway partners (local newspapers, local businesses, etc) will be sought out.

1. Local and national staff: It is most efficient if there is a national staff who will be available to oversee, manage and perform activities of the project in coordination with local and temporary staff. This is the ideal, and easier to achieve if there are enough modules being realized in succession and/or simultaneously to enable staff to have dependable work within the project. In any case, there will be active and inactive times during the project.
a. National staff: This will be a core team, composed of the minimum staff necessary to realize the project at a national level effectively.
b. Modules staff and volunteers: These teams will work on individual or multiple modules, depending on factors including locale, time commitments necessary, season, etc.
2. Development of educational resources: To reduce labour and production costs, materials (including electronic ones such as interactive computer programmes) will be developed on a national basis. These resources will be based on existing materials (translated and localized as necessary); new ones will also be developed, in particular for individual modules.

Realisation of a Module (Example of introduction of new vehicles)

Introduction: The events at the introduction of a new railway or public transport vehicle will be temporary, at a minimum as the first vehicles enter service, with an indefinite extension based on how many enter service, and to what areas of the city or region. Thus, the events will last for at least a few days or longer and may stop and start as new vehicles enter service, and as new areas of town/new areas of the region receive their first visits. The public realisation of every module will be different, both in schedule and content.

Example: New Suburban Train.

OTTF staff will travel with the vehicle itself, separately to individual stations or possibly on a special OTTF train (if funding and temporary vehicle donations permit).
So, if a new suburban train had its hub in a Large City A and visited the Towns B through M, staff would likely be in Large City A for a week or more, with another team visiting Towns B through M for one to a few days each.
Both the Large City and the Towns would host activities depending on what was appropriate.
Thus, the Large City might have:
· An introductory press conference;
· Information displays and interactive technology (games, education, etc) at a main station;
· Tours of the trains;
· Demonstrations of complementary technology (e.g. bicycles)
· Lunchtime music of various types;
· Daytime performances (dancing, performance art, etc);
· Daytime films for school children;
· Daytime and evening workshops and seminars for professionals and other adults;
· Evening films for adults;
· Family events on the weekend
· Also, all events will be preceded by – and have running concurrently – communication activities (postering, radio interviews, articles in local newspapers, contests, surveys, etc)

The Towns would have some of this, depending on size and degree of local participation. In both the Large City and the Towns the events would be centred on the station visited by the new train, but also coordinated with local public transport or other activities supported by the municipality. So, every event will require the participation of the operator of the vehicle, the manufacturer of the vehicle and municipalities and others in ideally all locations, and certainly every Large City, but perhaps just some of the Towns.

Example scenario. Simultaneously, a new tram and a new „smartcard” scheme (events leading up to and including one day’s activities)

Place: Borscht city, the capital of the Former Cabbage and Potato Republic:
A couple weeks or so before the first new tram arrives, posters, newspaper ads, web ads on local websites, etc appear which show the “OTTF dance troupe” – composed of dancers and people that look like typical local residents (pensioner man, businesswoman, boy student) posed with very large version of the smart cards Borscht is about to introduce, but which some people, notably pensioners, are nervous about using. The posters don’t just show how easy it is to use the cards, but get a little more surreal (without being ridiculous) showing the card juxtaposed with trees, with nature, with images related to climate change. So the card becomes a key to the future, rather than just a futuristic key.
The tram start regular service the same day as the smart card system comes online (perhaps not yet on the entire city network). From early in the morning, the real dancers (pictured in the poster) move all over the parts of the public transport system, playfully referring to the new technology – and other parts of the OTTF themes.
Later in the morning, at a heavy rail-urban transport hub or interchange or other public place served by the new tram and smartcard system there is a press conference. While the media is still present, school children arrive and start playing with the exhibits. Simultaneously, a professional workshop takes place in a nearby building.
Afternoon starts with a lunch (with vegetarian, organic, locally-grown options – promoting an holistic concept of sustainability) for workshop participants. In the main public area, there is live music (e.g. a classical quartet, Gypsy musicians, or musicians associated with the area where the vehicle is manufactured, if it is not local).
The workshop continues in the afternoon. The dancers perform again during the evening commute.
At night there is a screening of films (for example subtitled excerpts of the CineRail festival from Paris and/or environmental films) followed by a rock music concert (accompanied by a literature table and thematically-related “video wallpaper” rather than speeches which no one would listen to). The concert is either free or by admission, with funds going to OTTF and/or a local environmental or related NGO.
OTTF staff which does not live locally stays that night at normal accommodation (for example a hotel partner), with friends, or in sleeping cars in a special OTTF train.


Todd Edelman
International Coordinator
Green Idea Factory
Korunni 72
CZ-10100 Praha 10

Tel: +420 605 915 970
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Green Idea Factory, Czech Republic
Institute of Civil Affairs, Poland
Clean Air Action Group, Hungary
Hungarian Traffic Club
Klub Strážov, Slovakia
Polish Ecological Club
Greenways Program of the Polish Environmental Partnership
Association of Healthy Cities, Slovakia
Transport for the 21st Century, Czech Republic
SIRTS, Poland
Media Partner

Railvolution magazine


For further project details follow this link

On the Train Towards the Future!

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