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Projects and activities | 15 September 2020

The Social Biking Challenge: a mobile app to increase bicycle commuting

Context

When we go to work or school, especially if we live in an urban area, we can often choose between different modes of transport, including public transport, car or bike.

These transport decisions we make have consequences, both for us individually and for Europe as a whole – such as road congestion, pollution and chronic diseases linked to lack of physical activity.

The EU response includes the European Green Deal (PDF), which seeks to accelerate the shift to sustainable transport, in order to reduce pollution in cities. Likewise, the EU Strategy on nutrition, overweight and obesity-related health issues recognises physical activity as one of the main levers to prevent overweight, obesity and chronic diseases.

Goals

The project aims to test the effect of different sorts of social incentives on bicycle commuting.

Methods

We are conducting a field experiment that leverages the power of social networks and peer pressure, via a mobile tracking app for cyclists.

We promote the app in 32 different cities through the European Mobility Week network. The app allows users to track their rides to earn points, which they can eventually exchange for prizes

Cyclists participate in 3 different stages:

  • Individual stage – cyclists earn points based on individual performance

  • Pair stage – cyclists form pairs to earn extra bonus points together

  • Group stage – cyclists form groups of 4, to earn extra bonus points as a team

Expected outcomes

The results of this experiment are expected to help increase bicycle commuting and physical activity of EU citizens.

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