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Getting 'back to better' with psychology and technology

As society emerges out of C0VID-19, BetterPoints has launched its 'Back-to-Better' programme

Juliana O'Rourke
12 June 2020


As part of Landor LINKS' Green Transport Recovery webinar series, BetterPoints sponsored a webinar on 27 May 2020 entitled Locking in positive behaviour change: forward to better. In his presentation, Richard Kirk, BetterPoints CEO, outlined the climate dangers facing us as we return to work:

  • Work patterns will undoubtedly change with, perhaps, two/three day office-based weeks, phased start times and more commonplace working from home.

  • Social distancing and associated initial avoidance of public transport will create a rush back to the roads and a return to a carbon-filled climate.

Following the webinar, and as society emerges out of C0VID-19, BetterPoints has launched its 'Back-to-Better' programme.

This is an initiative in two forms: an 'out-of-the box' option accessible to all councils, and a 'bespoke programme' (see details below).

Kirk also identified the opportunity to link positive behaviour change with newly introduced transport innovations such as city centre transformation, pedestrianised-traffic free areas, new cycle lanes, and e-cargo bikes.

The BetterPoints behaviour change technology platform has built a reputation for incentivising citizens and employees to select carbon-friendly travel modes. These activities - walking, cycling, running, scooting, (and, usually public transport) - are measured via GPS activity tracking on the BetterPoints app. Users of sponsored programmes are rewarded, dependent on the sponsors choice, with store vouchers, coffee or beer, or have the ability to donate to charity.

Such an approach needs support from three main areas, stressed Kirk: councils and mayors, businesses and transport operators

'The danger is that we have a rush back using cars post lockdown,' says Kirk, 'so we need to consider how we can we discourage that. If we can understand where people are coming from and how long their routes are, we can help them replace the activities that are currently undertaken in private cars with safe public transport or other active travel options.'

Such an approach needs support from three main areas, stressed Kirk: councils and mayors, businesses and transport operators.

As we get back to better, he added, we can help with consistent messaging through our app, offering rewards for positive change and also collecting valuable data and information around  travel patterns. 'Rewarding people is particularly effective, for example by giving an accolade for doing an act of kindness for a neighbour.'

BetterPoints use a combination of psychology and technology to deliver its branded programmes on behalf of clients from local authorities to transport operators. Gamification is a key element, as is feedback and consistent messaging. 'COVID-19 has shown us that people can change behaviour quickly. 

'People's attitude is generally one of kindness and decency,' says Kirk. 'There's a lot of good that's come out of the COVID crisis, amongst all the tragedy, and so we really believe that we get will get back to better. But positive change needs to be encouraged by a motivation programme so that people will retain good habits because they've understood the benefits. And we need to constantly reinforce – but people are now listening, whereas they weren't listening before. They're listening, and they are very receptive to behaviour change. They're receptive to getting back to better.'

BetterPoints launches Back-to-Better

As society emerges out of C0VID-19, BetterPoints has launched 'Back-to-Better', an initiative in two forms:

1. Out-of-the box: accessible to all Councils, this behaviour change system includes:

  • Council/company branded programme for incentivised positive travel mode behaviour change - for citizens and employees.

  • Portal page explaining the programme and inviting people to download the appAccess to the Back-to- Better Challenge for local residents/employees.

  • Insight into travel behaviour for future infrastructure planning through intelligent messaging and context triggered questions. 

  • Private dashboard with real time data on number of people, number and type of activities, feedback from participants and ability to download data for further analysis.

  • In-built reward catalogue, prize draws, medals and additional non-financial rewards.

2. Bespoke programme: 

  • Triangulation programme - the power between councils, business and public transport.

  • Council-led engagement of major corporates/securing of pledges.

  • Programme of joint activities e.g. Phased return to work / WFH / Park & Stride / Cycle Lanes etc.

  • Public transport phased plan - incorporating BetterPoints car journey data.

  • Rewards in the form of local retailers goods/services - bringing life back to the High Street.

Both programmes options combine behaviour change science with gamification, and messaging – constant, consistent and themed messaging daily through the app.

For immediate details of Back-to Better, contact or contact Richard Kirk directly on or call him on +44 7836 235000.

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