The University of Sussex has become the latest higher education institution to use BetterPoints technology to reward and motivate their students and staff for active and sustainable travel.
The EcoGo challenge will work in parallel with other wellbeing and sustainability initiatives to make the University a more environmentally friendly place to work and study. Staff and students will earn rewards for active and sustainable travel with the BetterPoints app, which they can then spend at catering and retail outlets on campus or donate to good causes including the university's nominated charity partner, Surfers Against Sewage.
The programme is a part of the university's commitment to tackling climate change and reducing its environmental impact. The University of Sussex aims to make sustainable and active modes of transport the easiest options when getting to and around campus, but also to improve the health of staff and students. So working with BetterPoints to encourage green travel choices makes perfect sense.
The aim is to encourage students and employees to travel sustainably to reduce carbon emissions and boost wellbeing. The BetterPoints app will track journeys automatically and allocate rewards in the form of tradeable points for travelling on foot, by bike or by public transport.
The data gathered through the programme will help the university to understand its members' travel behaviour and plan for improved sustainable journey choices for everyone. All data collected will be securely held and anonymised and aggregated before being used exclusively for transport planning purposes. By sharing their travel data, participants are contributing towards the university's sustainability agenda and helping to combat climate change.
The Sustainability Manager, Samantha Waugh said:
"We are delighted to work with BetterPoints due to their existing partnerships working with Brighton and Hove City Council and the University of Sheffield – the whole BetterPoints Team seem super passionate about promoting sustainable travel and tackling climate change so it's great to be collaborating with a partner that shares our values."
The University of Sussex is just one of the many HEIs working with BetterPoints to deliver positive behaviours.
Last week we launched a new programme funded through the Department for Transport's new 'Capability Fund'. The BetterPoints York programme, in partnership with City of York Council (CYC), incentivises workers and residents in York to use active and sustainable modes of transport.
Following our success with active travel in Leicestershire (do check out the video if you haven't seen it already), we are delighted to be working on this new programme for City of York Council.
York has always had a higher-than-average number of people getting around by bike, but car travel and traffic congestion continue to rise. Single occupancy vehicles are a major part of the problem and getting people to change their behaviour is a tricky task, all the more so when you're challenging an established habit like the daily commute.
City of York Council has a long-standing ambition to promote active travel and many journeys people drive are under 5 miles, so there's real potential to swap the car for walking, cycling and public transport.
The BetterPoints York programme is designed to develop a long-term culture of cycling and walking in the city. It will encourage and reward active and sustainable travel, giving participants the tools and incentives to change their behaviour for the better.
Participants download the free BetterPoints app and use it to track their journeys, for which they are rewarded. The BetterPoints that people earn for their active and sustainable travel can be converted into York Gift Cards – which are accepted at over 300 businesses in the city – or donated to charity. There are also regular prize draws to incentivise people to keep tracking their travel.
All the GPS data people share is securely held and anonymised and aggregated before being shared with CYC, who will then use it to inform their travel planning and infrastructure development. So no personal data is shared and it is only used to help make York a cleaner, greener and safer place to live and work.
Ben Stokes, Travel Planning Officer, said:
"At York, we're excited to see how BetterPoints can reward people for travelling sustainably and also encourage more custom at local shops and other businesses. We like that BetterPoints includes a number of modes of travel so can be used by a wide range of people in York, with great benefits for health, traffic flow and the local environment."
BetterPoints and CYC are also working closely with the York Business Improvement District (BID), who run the York Gift Card, to ensure local businesses benefit from the programme. Carl Alsop, Operations Manager, said:
"The York Business Improvement District (BID) is delighted to support BetterPoints York and encourage residents and visitors to the city to get around sustainably. Encouraging people to come into York using active and sustainable transport and visit our fantastic local businesses can help reduce traffic as well as supporting the city's economic recovery.
"Our York Gift Card is accepted by over 300 businesses, including shops, cafes, bars and restaurants, so participants can spend their rewards on whatever they want and support the local economy at the same time. It's a win for sustainability and York's great independents – helping make the city happier, healthier and more environmentally friendly."