The needs of passengers at 16 railway stations were researched as part of the Deutsche Bahn “Zukunftsbahnhof” [future train station] initiative. What makes them feel safer and more comfortable – and what changes would they like to see? New concepts for sustainable mobility were also tested in connection with the project. The outcome was the DB Rad+ app, which was developed by the Wiesbaden-based creative agency Scholz & Volkmer with the aim of encouraging commuters in particular to cycle more. If customers travel a significant distance by bike, the number of kilometres cycled is counted and rewarded with a credit. The further someone cycles, the bigger the free gift or discount they can claim from local partner companies.
Rewards vary from place to place. In Wiesbaden, for example, passengers who cycle ten kilometres can claim two organic apples, while app users who pedal 30 kilometres are rewarded with a cup of coffee. Between 15 and 30 businesses have signed up to the initiative in the various towns. What is more, Deutsche Bahn has agreed milestones with each town. Once all of the users achieve a certain number of kilometres together, they will earn rewards which benefit everyone. For instance, if they cover 25,000 km together, a central bike repair point will be purchased and installed. This means that the digital collection mechanism has a concrete, tangible effect on users’ day-to-day environments. The aim is to create a win-win situation: the rail company encourages more people to travel by train, businesses attract more customers, and the town reduces the number of cars on its roads – while cyclists benefit from apples, coffee, improved fitness and better health. However, the biggest winner of all is the environment.
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