London borough achieves high levels of behaviour change for sustainable transport and better air quality
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None of us want to breathe poor quality air. Outdoor air pollution is again making headlines this week. It has become to be considered a public health emergency in the UK, much of it attributable to transport, yet experts struggle to convey the magnitude of the problem and encourage more sustainable forms of transport.
BetterPoints recently ran a pilot project with the London Borough of Sutton, which incentivised people to make changes to their travel behaviour and informed them about local air quality issues. We rewarded those who commuted to school or work by active or sustainable modes – walking, cycling, running, scooting or catching the bus.
Gamification in the form of prize draws and treasure hunts made it fun for all the family to participate. Participants received BetterPoints and BetterTickets for tracking active and sustainable commutes. They had the chance to exchange BetterPoints for vouchers or donate them to charity, BetterTickets were entered into regular draws to win prizes.
82% of those surveyed at the end of the programme said they had changed their leisure travel behaviour as a result of the programme which was run by BetterPoints and funded by the London Borough of Sutton as part of The Sutton Plan.
Over a tonne of toxic emissions were saved in just 6 months between July and December 2018, improving air quality for everyone. When asked if a tracked journey replaced a car trip, 52% of people said that it had, equating to thousands of car journeys being replaced by active/sustainable modes. This substantial number in just a small pilot of 300 participants shows the level of change that is possible and the potential impact of a larger-scale programme.
“The BetterPoints programme had a high rate of engagement showing genuine behaviour change for participants”, said Becky Chapman, Smart Place Project Manager, Sutton Council
Participants showed real behaviour change – of those who participated in the end of programme survey:
- 82% said they changed their leisure travel behaviour
- 51% said they changed their work travel behaviour
- 48% said they participated increased their levels of physical activity
- 55% said their new behaviour is likely to be permanent
- 61% said they are now more aware of issues around air quality.
The initiative was part of Sutton Council’s Sutton Plan, which brings together residents, community groups, businesses and the public sector to help build and shape the local community. We’re currently working with Sutton to look at the best way to build on the success of the pilot.
BetterPoints works with organisations to build positive behaviour change programmes. Our award-winning technology platform gives partners a suite of tools for building and managing interventions via the user-facing BetterPoints smartphone app.
Since 2010, BetterPoints technology has motivated people to travel more than 10 million active and sustainable miles, the equivalent of over 400 times round the world or almost 42 times the distance from Earth to the Moon! We’ve mitigated around 3.5 million kilos of CO2 emissions to improve air quality and burned over 500 million calories.