Do you want to increase the number of people in your city by 25% who jump on their bikes in the morning and head to work or school, instead of grinding through rush-hour traffic in their cars, or sweating it out in cramped metro carriages? Now, there’s an easy, interesting and fun way for cities to greatly increase their rates of cycling as favorable mode of transportation.
With this notion in mind, Danish cycling guru, Troels Andersen in combination with Fredericia municipality in Denmark, have partnered up with ECF to create the B-Track-B project; an initiative that aims to get more cyclists on the road in more cities around the world, while also rewarding current ones. How do they do this? With RFID tags. These tags are essentially tracking devices, which will be used to give cyclists the possibility to go from Point A to Point B, check-in on their phones or other mobile device and gain points – which can in the end, turn into prizes.
Has this yielded any results thus far? According to the Cycling Embassy of Denmark, the municipality of Fredericia is “aiming to increase cycle traffic by more than 25 percent”, with the use of RFID tags, “by focusing on new and interesting ways to reward, encourage and support cycling as an easy, healthy, handy and sustainable means of transport.” (Cycling Embassy of Denmark)
So how can cities use this technology to increase their rates of cycling?
Firstly, RFID tags are small tracking devices that can monitor things such as distances traveled over a period of time. In so doing, the RFID tag will allow users to start cycling, record distances, and gain points to win prizes. Aside from that, RFID tags can also make cycling a more socially interactive experience; where users can check-in online and share their progress and rewards on various social media applications – further adding to the potential reach of the project.
The use of RFID tags – which cost only .50 euro cents per bicycle spoke tag – in combination with the rewards for cycling program of B-Track-B, can help to encourage cycle-friendly cities, and aims to do so especially cities which don’t necessarily have a strong and long-standing cycling tradition – herein, lies the logic behind the rewards system. In an attempt to integrate cycling into the community fabric, the B-Track-B project believes that by creating a program wherein cyclists are rewarded for their commuter behavior, others will be encouraged to take up cycling as a form of transportation, and help transform cities into sustainable, healthy and environmentally friendly places.
“The concept is simple,” says Henk Hendriks, Project Manager at European Cyclists’ Federation, “the more people ride, the more they are rewarded. And the more they were rewarded, the more they cycle.”
Any results so far?
In fact, the B-Track-B project is not the first of its kind. Already used in parts of the United States, Troels Andersen spoke at Velo-city Vancouver regarding the up and coming possibilities of RFID tracking and cycling, highlighted by the simple motto “monitor the cyclists, expose the cyclists, reward the cyclists”. With a firm belief in the ability of this program to not only take off in cities around the world, but also to transform them, it looks like this idea is taking hold and extending its reach to cities around the world.
Alexandra Cutean is the Communications Assistant at ECF and a long-time cyclist. With a background in conflict resolution and European Affairs, she spends most of her spare time looking for new places to visit, and mapping out bike routes.