The transportation sector has been stubbornly unable to accelerate reduction in carbon emissions despite the vast array of legacy and new shared mobility services that have come to the market in recent years.
Mobility as a Service (MaaS) or in some markets, Mobility on Demand (MOD) has been seen for years as the solution to the challenge. It has been assumed that the solution to the fragmentation and coordination problem in mobility is to facilitate seamless door-to-door mobility whereby an entire range of mobility services (from bikes and scooters, to carsharing, ridehailing and transit and rail) are available for discovery, journey planning, booking and payment in one mobile interface. MaaS has been seen as the missing link required to achieve more modal shift by breaking down the barriers of walled garden single mode services and apps.
In 2018, my company, Iomob, set out to build such a solution as a middleware platform for public and private actors to enable their customers, employees or other stakeholders this seamless mobility experience. Today, the Iomob mobility network is commercially deployed with public and private customers (e.g. rail operators, transit agencies and more) on both sides of the Atlantic and hopefully soon in a few other strategic markets around the globe.
While there is exciting adoption of our technology with users through the mobile apps of our clients, like the rest of the MaaS industry, until recently we had failed to find a clever way to reach what is commonly referred to as level 4 MaaS.
While Iomob is one of dozens of recognized companies offering some type of MaaS solution direct to consumers or in our case through enterprise, I believe we are the first in our industry to launch a complementary solution to attack level 4 MaaS: integration of societal goals.
In October 2022, we launched WheelCoin as a beta to end users around the globe. Today, we have users who have adopted WheelCoin in more than 140 countries around the globe.
WheelCoin is designed to attack Level 4 MaaS as a complementary solution to our own MaaS product although it is quite likely this year we will enable WheelCoin inside our MaaS solution due to enterprise customer demand.
WheelCoin is a gamification tool that rewards users for making greener mobility choices. It passively detects the user’s mobility choices and rewards them with 1 WHL (reward token) for every 1 kg of avoided emissions.
As of today WheelCoin detects with greater than 95% accuracy, walking, biking, trains, buses, ferries, cars and planes. WHL can already be used for amazing discounts from a growing range of partners such as Flixbus, Santander Bikesharing (London), Dott, Tier, Nextbike, Trainpal (pan European rail) and even Next Earth (earth based metaverse land). WHL can also be used to obtain digital collectibles.
In the near future we are adding several new features such as the ability to buy and sell all digital assets on the carbon negative blockchain, Celo, and to develop customized leaderboards for companies, cities or even families.
WheelCoin for Cities
Today, I am excited to announce our first launch of a new initiative, WheelCoin for Cities. Local and regional governments around the globe aspire to find ways to leverage carrots and sticks to nudge residents and visitors into public, shared and sustainable mobility.
The Skane region of Sweden, bordering Denmark and composted of three participating members of the EU Net Zero Cities initiative, is the first to launch WheelCoin for Cities.
The first phase of the collaboration involves engaging residents and visitors with information and encouragement to download the WheelCoin app to start participating in the fun and rewards of moving green in the Skane region.
The next phase is the launch of a new digital collectibles series tied to points of interest (POIs) within the Skane region. Here is a sneak peak of what residents, visitors and any WheelCoin user in the world, will soon see in the WheelCoin app. As you may notice, the latest collectibles program is made using AI to celebrate points of interest in our partnering cities.
While I can not divulge specifics, we will be experimenting with geolocated collectibles to make it more fun for local residents and visitors to try to capture the collectibles they might be missing. You can imagine WheelCoin for Cities partners offering additional rewards to residents and visitors who are first to collect a digital badge (e.g. digital mayor) by obtaining all the collectibles in their community. For example why couldn’t the first 10 or 50 residents who become a digital mayor be invited to a breakfast or private event with the actual mayor?
Finally cities and regions are working with us to incorporate discounts from partners or even on public transit services themselves as well as exploring additional promotions such as monthly challenges and leaderboards with their own rewards.
Of course Skane is not alone, they are just the first. Soon we will be announcing our 2nd major partner, this time, a capital city in Latin America!
It is obviously too early to tell for sure, but the early signs from our users is that WheelCoin indeed does nudge users into moving greener. In the most recent poll of our users more than 50% indicated that they have made some behavioral changes in order to earn more WHL.
If you would like to explore adopting WheelCoin for your city or organisation feel free to reach out, or if you just want to join the WheelCoin community feel free to download the app for free and get started earning WHL.