Nottinghamshire councils turn to gamification to increase bus use
A collaboration between local councils in Nottinghamshire will see members of the public encouraged to use buses through a gamified mobile app that offers discounted journeys.
Developed by employee and public engagement programme provider Jump, the app is called ‘Green Rewards’ and is free to access. It gives users access to adult and group daily bus tickets at a 15% discount, and all users are entered into a draw to win a free monthly bus pass.
Green Rewards also enables users to collect virtual points for logging a range of actions that reduce the environmental impact of their daily routines. As well as logging journeys taken using public or active transport rather than by car, users can log actions like reducing plastic waste by using reusable bottles and cups.
Green Rewards is being implemented as part of a collaboration between Nottingham City Council, the private bus operators in the county, Nottinghamshire County Council and all eight other councils within the county.
Its implementation comes as many UK residents consider whether public transport could help reduce their monthly outgoings, amid the energy price crisis which has hit motorists at petrol and diesel pumps. This could buck the trend of declining bus use in the UK. One 2020 study from KPMG found that there were 650 million fewer bus trips taken in the UK in 2019 than 2015 – and this was before the Covid-19 pandemic dented journey numbers further.
In pure environmental terms, Nottinghamshire County Council is targeting net-zero for its own operations by 2030 and for the region ahead of the national 2050 deadline. On buses specifically, the Council published a new bus strategy late last year, bidding for new Government funding for electric vehicles in addition to its operational biogas vehicles.
Green Rewards is already used as an employee engagement platform at several major organisations in the public sector and, to a lesser extent, the private sector. Organisations using the tool include Barclays, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service, and councils, universities and NHS organisations across the UK.
In related news, Genoa has announced that it is the first city in the world to connect its entire public and private hire transport networks to smart technology.
The city municipality and its public transport operator AMT have worked with Hitachi’s rail arm to connect all modes of transport digitally, with information collected from trains, buses, taxis and so on using Bluetooth-connected technologies made accessible to members of the public using a free mobile app called ‘360Pass’. 663 buses, 2,500 bus stops, all metro trains and two bus routes have been added to the system.
App functionalities include calculating which modes of transport would be the quickest and cheapest; showing traffic and disruptions in real-time; showing how busy particular buses and trains are; locating available parking spaces and enabling users to hire electric cars, taxis or mopeds.
Hitachi Rail is calling on other cities to consider using its solution. In the UK specifically, it believes that suitable locations could include London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow.
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