I just came across this very interesting scheme (via an email) which has been introduced in London as a way of helping the environment and easing congestion. I hadn’t heard about it before, and I wonder how successful it will be. What are your thoughts, has anything similar been tried in other cities? Did it work? Is it sustainable financially? Here is the article:
Punch a destination into re:route, a new app from eco-rewards company Recyclebank, and it will provide several options. You could walk to the subway, take it to your stop, pick up a bike from the bike share, and ride to your destination. You could get off the subway a stop early and walk. You could ride your own bike, or walk halfway and pick up a bike to get you the rest of the way there.
Whichever path you choose, you’re not using your car. As a reward for making that decision you’ll receive a reward at the end of each journey—5 Recyclebank points, which can be combined and exchanged for discounts on a slew of products.
The app is supported in part by Transport for London, the government agency that oversees every aspect of how Londoners get around. The agency has been working for years to reduce the city’s carbon emissions by building out bike infrastructure, setting congestion pricing, and introducing hybrid buses. The agency also aims to increase biking rates 400 percent between 2000 and 2025, and walking by a quarter. And while taking the subway is good too, the city’s trains are already congested, and this summer’s Olympics may push them to their limits.
With re:route, Recyclebank aims to push people off of their well-worn paths. “When it comes to commuting, you commute by force of habit,” says Ian Yolles, the company’s chief sustainability officer. “It’s become such a habit that you get to the end of your journey and you don’t remember getting there.” The app, the company hopes, will make people rethink their journeys. It also tells users how much carbon they avoided, time they saved, and calories they burned.
If that’s not incentive enough, the points provide an additional justification for the app. To start, every journey will earn the same number of points, but routes with lower carbon emissions or that avoid rush hour traffic might eventually earn more points, for instance.
This point system is at the heart of Recyclebank’s business: Company founders believe they can convince people to take green actions by attaching rewards to them. In London, Recyclebank recruited rewards partners like department store Marks & Spencer and local bike shops. The new app will be part of Transport for London’s communications campaign leading up to the Olympics, and the company aims to enroll more than 100,000 users in the coming months.
Freebies on Offer – Not Bad at All isn’t That!
I also wanted to share a couple of really great deals with you today as well. One of which is a kindle book written by a fellow explorer and friend Alistair Humphreys, and is all about his travels in India. For a limited time, Al is offering free kindle downloads of his book, though it would be really ace if you could give a bot of a book review for him on Amazon’s website. Al is a great guy, writes some brilliant articles on exploration and adventure, has a fab website and regularly blogs. If you are planning an expedition or just need to be inspired or some escapism of a Sunday afternoon, then his website and all of his books are well worth a gander. He also has a lot of advice on what he terms ‘micro-adventures’, things which don’t need to be in far flung places or which cost a fortune, so worth checking them out.
Alistair’s latest book (available for free for a limited time) is called ‘There are Other Rivers’: http://www.alastairhumphreys.com/2012/04/india-book-free/
GoPro Daily Draw
Not sure I should be sharing this one, as I’ve entered myself and will enter daily for as long as the draw is running. But the gist of it is that, if you get drawn, then you win a whole stack of GoPro goodies. I used to have one of the original GoPro cameras, tiny little thing with a velcro strap that could be used to attach it to mountain bike handlebars, climbing helmet, ski poles or whatever (cost about £10 I think!). I loved this camera, though it was a bit fiddly, and I ended up giving it to my stepsister in Latvia who was a professional swimmer at the age of 15, training hard every day, and it meant that her friends could easily film her underwater and then her coach could analyse her swimming stroke from below the water, as well as from the pool side, but I’ve missed it ever since. The cameras have come a very long way since then, even offering several different kinds now, and also a HD version. I’d love to have one of these newer ones, and it would be perfect for documenting my training for the ocean row, and also for use on the row itself, so I’m desperate to get my hands on one. Here are some pictures I took in Scotland a while back using the very basic GoPro camera I had back then:
The original GoPro was a bit tricky to use as it was hard to know exactly what your camera was pointing at, without a real view finder, but I think the new ones have resolved this. http://gopro.com/daily-giveaway/ Anyway, I REALLY, REALLY want one of these!
Think that is about it for today. Had a great day at yoga today, and also got a lot of project stuff done, so am feeling very happy with myself, let’s hope tomorrow is just as good, if not better.