How WheelCoin incentivizes Green Mobility-My own Journey
In the last few days we started sharing the news that Iomob is launching a new product — WheelCoin. The post from the MaaS Alliance that came out today, August 12th has already resulted in several mobility stakeholders reaching out to learn more how their organizations can participate and to better understand how WheelCoin can stimulate greener choices.
I thought I would share some early insights from my own use of an internal demo version of WheelCoin. I do not drive a car. I have not had a driver’s license since I moved to Barcelona in 2015. So in my case, choosing a car over multimodal journeys is not much of an option anyway:) However there are interesting insights from my own experiences.
I live in a beautiful town outside of Barcelona called Sant Cugat, meanwhile Iomob’s offices are in the heart of Barcelona near Plaza Catalunya.
My normal daily commute involves taking my mountain bike from my house to the Sant Cugat FGCC train station. The train runs every 3–5 minutes so I rarely have to plan my arrival with precision. The train is a nice, comfortable journey of about 25 minutes to Plaza Catalunya and from there, a short walk to our offices in the WeWork building.
As you can see from the results of an actual one-way multimodal journey, it takes roughly 50 minutes door to door. The WheelCoin app, leveraging the smartphone sensors, GPS and accelerometers is able to detect each leg of my journey and which mode I chose. It calculates the distance travelled in each mode and then tells me how many KGs of CO2 emissions I avoided by not using a normal car for the whole journey. On this day, between my roundtrip to and from the office and walking to lunch, etc. I saved about 4kg of CO2 and earned 4 “Wheelies” (our snarky word for points). We are in beta so we are not launching the official WheelCoin token until we learn from our 5,000 OG users when the app launches September 15th.
In future posts I can go deeper into the token economics of WheelCoin and the role of our NFT program and the overal Move2Earn (M2E) mechanics envisioned for the public app launch post beta.
But the enthusiastic reaction to the MaaS Alliance post and the subsequent dialog it has started regarding how this could be a powerful tool to onboard more people to MaaS and green mobility encouraged me to share a new personal insight I had today that I think anecdotally shows the power of this subtle incentive that could be a nudge away from car dependence and towards sustainable multimodal mobility.
As mentioned I do not drive. But many people who live in Sant Cugat do drive to the Barcelona city center on a regular basis. What is the cost for doing this? Well, for one, we have a peaje (toll) that is usually around 4 euros each way between Sant Cugat and Barcelona. There is 8 euros a day. An average car travels roughly 12km with one liter of gas, so roughly 2 liters of gas roundtrip. As of today that is about 3 euros 50 cents. Parking rates near Plaza Catalunya are at least 15 euros/day. Not factoring in other cost of ownership indicators, this means the same roundtrip journey would cost around 30 euros per day.
My journey that includes a commuter bike I have owned since 2012, walking (with whatever shoes I have on my feet) and a roundtrip train ticket which costs me about 1 euro 20 cents each way means that I spend about 3 euros per day commuting sustainably, without dealing with traffic, listening comfortable to my favorite crypto podcasts and catching up on emails on the train.
One would think there is enough embedded economic incentives in this journey to encourage even more people to leave their car keys at home. But we are creatures of habit. So nudging can help. WheelCoin tracks my movements and allows me to be proud of the emissions I am saving. But it also rewards me for it with Wheelies which will be converted to tokens which will have a range of ways to accrue value for me personally as a user and for the green mobility ecosystem (and our cities).
This morning, I had a really interesting experience. By random coincidence, my wife, who works from home and does drive, was leaving the house at the exact same time I was to run an errand and offered to drop me off at the train station.
I thought about it for an instant and politely declined realizing I would gain fewer points today and feel guilty about not taking my bike, which is also good exercise for me. I know this is a small anecdote and may not apply to everyone but I hope it provides a little more color on the possibility of gamifying and nudging people to make more sustainable mobility decisions on a regular basis.
Stay tuned for more information about the app launch, game mechanics and more. And if you are inspired, come visit us in Discord and join the OG WheelCoin group which comes with awesome benefits like a free non transferible NFT like this one!
About the Author
Boyd Cohen is the CEO and Co-founder of Iomob, a decentralized internet of mobility (IoM) network. Since obtaining his Ph.D. in strategy and entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado in 2001, he spent the past two decades focused on accelerating the path to a low-carbon sustainable economy. This included publishing 3 books, multiple peer reviewed articles, frequently contributing to Fast Company and starting a handful of ventures in the smart cities and sustainability arena.