It’s well known that cycling instead of driving can save you money - but what if it can actually make you money?
That’s what a new scheme being rolled out in Greenwich, south east London, is trying to do, with the council announcing an app that tracks walking and cycling.
The BetterPoints smartphone app will tot up distances walked or pedalled, and convert them into points which can be cashed in for vouchers for high-street shops or donated to charity.
The Greenwich LEN (Low Emission Neighbourhood) project will be sending out representatives from the Charlton Athletic Community Trust, who will help local people get started with the app and reduce reliance on their cars.
The ambitious programme intends to reduce car usage by 7 per cent, while increasing the rate of walking to work by 10 per cent and cycling to work by 15 per cent.
Councillor Danny Thorpe, deputy leader at Greenwich Council, told the News Shopper: “Tackling air pollution is a huge and complex one and the challenges of reducing emissions and combating the causes of climate change is not one we can do alone.
“The LEN project is helping us to the test out a host of ideas designed to help improve air quality in west Greenwich and the Peninsula.”
Barbara Charles, who lives on the Meridian Estate in west Greenwich, said: “It’s great to be working with the Council to try to combat air quality at a local level.
“The project should raise awareness of the issue of air pollution and that everyone can do their own bit to help.
“I’m hoping CACT will put on a walking bus to the Valley, although I shouldn’t say that, seeing as I’m a Tottenham supporter.”
BetterPoints rewards you for 150 minutes of exercise per week at 2 points per minute for the first 150 minutes of walking, cycling or running in a calendar week.
There is a maximum earning of 300 points per week.
1,000 points can be exchanged for a £1 voucher in a range of high street shops
Recently we reported on another handy app for cyclists, Text To Ticket, which is a mobile app that will see its users paid $5 for submitting videos of people using mobile phones while driving.
But before you start pondering how big a house you’ll buy with the proceeds, it’s worth pointing out two things: the app is currently US-only and every sighting has to be verified.
The start-up responsible is hoping to roll out the app internationally and nor is the second of those two points too much of a stumbling block – verification is more straightforward than you might think.
The app automatically tracks the user’s location, date, time, longitude, latitude and other legally required information while the user is recording the violation. The information is then encrypted and digitally signed and sent to local agencies. If the driver is charged, you get your cash reward.
Videos must clearly show the driver using a mobile device and must also clearly capture the vehicle’s registration plate. The developers also make it clear: “We do NOT accept any videos from drivers recording other drivers at any time!”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.