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BetterPoints technology rewards healthy and sustainable travel in York

BetterPoints technology rewards healthy and sustainable travel in York

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.

We’re delighted to be delivering this project with our partners to encourage more people to walk and cycle as part of their everyday travel in the city. 

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