New Auto*Mat video teaser

Auto*Mat is an organisation and a movie. The movie is about the organisation, which is based in the city of Prague, Czech Republic. It also discusses the love for the automobile and the thinking of people in early 21st century Europe. The organisation is the movie. The two are inseparable. We make the movie, we watch the movie and we live the movie.

Find more about Auto*Mat actions here

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Yes Men crash BMW Gala

Leonardo Di Caprio, Bob Geldof and and Mikhail Gorbachev were among the dignitaries momentarily blocked by protesters as they tried to enter BMW’s high-octane “Cinema for Peace” charity gala in Berlin las February.

“We aren’t leaving till BMW stops making cars,” declared Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno (also known as “The Yes Men”) as they planted themselves in the middle of the red carpet wearing ridiculous inflatable costumes. “Cars are killing the planet, and charity events that greenwash their image aren’t helping.”

Despite “tight security” (provided by Flash Security, one of the event’s sponsors), the two men were able to waddle through a gap in the fence unnoticed. They made it halfway up the red-carpeted grand staircase of the Konzerthaus Berlin, where they sat down and refused to move. Confused celebrities had to navigate around the six-foot-diameter balls for about five minutes until Flash’s tall, blond security guards clumsily removed them by force. The protesters sustained a few bruises and a bloodied nose but were otherwise unharmed.

Although BMW does have an electric car, most of their business is in phallus-enhancing gas guzzlers. The acquisition of petroleum that is used in BMW’s cars has been identified as the source of ongoing wars in several parts of the world, making them an unlikely sponsor of an event calling for peace.

In addition to ongoing violence over the acquisition of oil, burning petroleum in BMW engines is accelerating climate change, which already kills 150,000 people per year and by 2050 will make a billion homeless (according to one UN study). Historically, mass displacement of people has resulted in war, which means that if BMW wants to avert war, they should stop making cars. After that they can more honestly celebrate peace with lavish charity galas.

“This is yet another case where we treat the symptoms but ignore the disease,” said Yes Man Mike Bonanno. Andy Bichlbaum continued: “If we don’t fix our system and start regulating these companies, they will just keep on destroying the world and throwing parties while it burns.”

The Yes Men were already in town to launch their new film “The Yes Men Fix The World” at the Berlin Film Festival when they heard about the unrelated “Cinema for Peace” event and could not resist throwing a wrench in the works.

http://www.theyesmen.org/

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Carfree Holidays

"During holidays, abandon your car! And forget about it for ever..."

"During holidays, abandon your car! And forget about it for ever..."

Great advice for the holidays.

By Titom, a regular illustrator for Carbusters magazine. More of his work here.

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Naked by bike in brussels – Cyclonudista 2009

Every year a “World Naked Bike Ride” or Cyclonudista is held in different cities all over the world to show the fragility of cyclists in traffic and ask more (political) attention for cycling as a sustainable way of transport in cities.

In Brussels it was a sunny day, which resulted in many naked cyclists, taking most people in town by surprise, creating mixed reactions and lots of photo and video attention. See our video:

Dutch/French with English subtitles.
Filmed in Brussels on Saturday 27 June 2009.
Camera and editing by Bas Ruyters.


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Free Transportation Program

I work for a company that has more than a thousand employees. Approximately eight hundred of them are located in two buildings in the same neighbourhood only half a mile away from each other, and both really close to a bike path.

In 2007, when I noticed that more and more of my work colleagues were interested in my commuting choice, I decided I should do something to encourage more people to bike to work.

CELEPAR bike commuters

CELEPAR bike commuters

The project started when I joined the company’s CIPA (an internal comity responsible for employee’s health and safety, compulsory to every Brasilian company). We were able to use the intranet and corporate email to help us develop educational campaigns, organise visits to different departments, and distribute flyers.  It was the first phase of the project called Survey.

Survey
Before carrying out any effective measure toward cycle mobility in the company, we designed a questionnaire to evaluate the feasibility for the company and whether or not there were people interested in it. It contained a set of closed-ended questions (e.g.: commuting distance, travelling time and costs) and open-ended questions (e.g.: pros and cons for biking, street safety). We also recorded some video interviews where the employees could speak more freely and we could gather some suggestions and critics.

All this process took almost six months. The results were promising and we were anxious to start the second phase.

Most employees support cyclists

Most employees support cyclists

Analysis
From the collected data, it was possible to acknowledge that the majority of the employees supported the project, even those who said that would continue to use their car. However, bike commuting wasn’t an appropriate choice for all those who were interested. During this phase we determined our target group and developed some strategies to encourage a more efficient use of the bicycle. It was time to ride.

Implementation
Almost one year later the program was launched. Besides the employees who spontaneously began to use the bike during the first two phases, it was time to get people to ride.

We organised bike tours with groups of more than 30 people among employees and relatives. The route was made exclusively by bicycle. It was an excellent opportunity to enforce bicycle as a valid means of transportation and address legal issues, basic bike fitting, and riding techniques.

We also started a “Ride Buddy/Mentor” program (similar to CommuteOrlando) helping people to choose the best route, fitting their bike and riding with a mentor for novice cyclists.

Follow-up
Although our study indicated that the company staff supported this mobility program, there was no incentive to maintain and expand the program from the board of directors.

Even so, there are new employees adopting the bicycle. On sunny days, more than 15 bicycles can be seen leaned against the company garage’s wall. And they aren’t always the same ones. It is good to see more and more bicycles than the measly two or three bikes parked there before the program.

The importance of the program has been recognised outside the company. Last year it was accepted in the Towards Carfree Cities Conference in Portland, USA. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it. And this year, it will be presented at the 17th National Congress of Transit and Transportation (CNTT-ANTP) held in September here in Curitiba, Brazil.

I’d like to give a special thanks to Ulrich Jager, a mobility consultant from L & J Mobility who strongly supported our project since the very beginning.

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What’s New, Waste-o-crat?

Welcome to Car Culture

Welcome to Car Culture

Insanity, they say, is redoubling the same old efforts while expecting different results.

Have you ever stopped to wonder what’s going to be “new” about the post-bankruptcy auto industry?

I always say that it would take a committee of experts to conceive a more wasteful arrangement than our autos-über-alles transportation system here in the USA.  Indeed, profitable economic waste — maximum foisting of saleable parts and services — is the whole point of the thing.

Over at the “new” Ford, they are getting more blatant than ever about this.

In a report on how Ford designers are using virtual characters and “mindset segmentation” to focus their manipulative efforts, The New York Times for July 16 conveyed this quote from “Murat Yalman, Ford’s director of global advanced product strategy, is a strong supporter of an approach that personalizes the ideal buyer for everyone involved in a vehicle’s development”:

“We had done lots of models based on rationality, but now we are recognizing that emotions play a much more dominant role than we ever admitted,” Mr. Yalman said. “In buying a car, you have to fall in love.”

He added: “We now focus quite a bit on aspirations and dreams.”

These can be embodied in products. “Think of someone who has a really high-end parka in which you could climb Mount Everest. But the person only wears it on the train to work.”

Straight from the horse’s _____.

Michael Dawson

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Carfree Drawing

© Lucile Gomez

"A long time ago, human beings were devoting such a strong cult to these things, that they offered the lungs of their children as a sacrifice."© Lucile Gomez

Here is a beautiful carfree drawing from Lucile Gomez. You can follow her work in French on her website: http://www.lucilegomez.fr/

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