DRK-Blutspendedienst Nord-Ost cycles to compete in Baron’s third pilot: CO2 Fit Challenge

01 December 2022 - Published by CIE Communications

After the successful Oldenburg Bicycle Challenge and the Company Bicycle Challenge 2020 and 2021, the German BITS partner Baron Mobility Service GmbH with its brand organized a third pilot in form of the CO2 Fit Challenge in September 2022 as part of their participation in the European Interreg research project Bicycles and Intelligent Transport Systems (BITS).

Once again, Baron wanted to investigate the impact of a gamification-based app on cycling behavior - this time with the Changers Fit app, which has more extensive tracking and gamification options and allows, for example, automatic tracking and linking with various smartwatches such as Garmin, Fitbit and Misfit. (Learn more here).

The winner of the 2021 Service Bike Challenge, DRK-Blutspendedienst Nord-Ost participated this year again in the CO2 Fit Challenge and doubled its number of participants as well as its cycled kilometers. In 2021, the 50 participating employees cycled 16,500 kilometers over a 6-week period. In the CO2 Fit Challenge, which took place from September 1st to September 30th, 2022, the 120 employees covered 32,117 kilometers by bicycle within a period of 4 weeks, thus achieving a CO2 saving of over 6 tons of CO2 compared to car use.

The most active DRK employee cycled 2,022 kilometers, fitting the year 2022, and four other employees also cycled over 1,000 kilometers.

The DRK employees competed in the CO2 Fit Challenge in 7 regional teams, corresponding to the individual DRK locations: Dresden/Görlitz, Chemnitz/Leipzig, Schleswig, Plauen/Zwickau, Cottbus, Lütjensee and Berlin/Potsdam. The team with the most bicycle kilometers was rewarded for its performance by the DRK-Blutspendedienst Nord-Ost with a bicycle service station. This prize was additionally crowned with an in-house challenge cup and went to the Dresden/Görlitz team, which covered 8,913 kilometers by bicycle with its 33 employees in the challenge. Second and third place went to the Chemnitz/Leipzig team with 6,884 bicycle kilometers and 25 participating employees, and to the institute in Schleswig with 5,992 bicycle kilometers and 22 participating employees. In addition, small prices were raffled along the participating cyclists.

In the CO2 Fit Challenge, Baron wanted to test the research question to which extent an app with gamification functions contributes to an increase in bicycle use and achieves the BITS goal of a 10% increase in bicycle use. This third pilot with a different gamification app then before also wanted to investigate which app-functions play a crucial role for motivating to cycle.

For this purpose, a start and a final evaluation were conducted among the DRK employees participating in the Challenge. The results from the two questionnaires were then evaluated and compared. The response rate was 50 for the start survey and 72 for the final survey.

The feedback from the employees of the DRK-Blutspendedienst Nord-Ost regarding the app and the CO2 Fit Challenge was predominantly positive. After a few initial difficulties with the app setup, the app and the kilometer recording basically worked well. In the final survey, over 70% of the 71 respondents said, they would recommend the app fully or with minor restrictions.

With regard to the motivating factors for cycling during the CO2 Fit Challenge, "comparing myself with other participants" was cited as the greatest motivator by around 53% of the 72 surveyed employees of the DRK-Blutspendedienst Nord-Ost. "Seeing my own statistics" landed in second place with 32% and "participating in health activities" in the Changers Fit app in third place with 25%.

A closer look at the information provided in the start and end surveys with regard to the bicycle as an everyday means of transport reveals that the bicycle has clearly become more attractive, compared to other means of transport, among the participating DRK employees as a result of the Challenge and app use. Regarding the bicycle use for trips to the grocery store, leisure activities, or to daycare centers, schools, or friends, there is a particular percentual increase in bicycle use from 26.53% to 52.11%. Looking at the distances to work and during the workday, for example for field work activities, the bicycle stands out as an everyday means of transport from other means of transport with an increase of about 8% in each occasion.

When comparing the data on daily bicycle use on the way to work in the starting and final questionnaires, an increase of 12.5% was also found. This development can also be supported by the survey results regarding the weekly number of kilometers. For example, in the final survey, significantly more participants than before the challenge reported to cycle 80km upwards per week. Whereas in the start survey only 6% of the 49 survey participants stated that they cycled between 100-200km per week, in the final survey 16.6% of the 72 respondents made this statement. The indication to cycle more than 200km per week was not selected by any person in the start survey, in the final survey 8.3% of the 72 survey participants made this indication.

When asked directly, a total of about half (46%) of the 72 survey participants from DRK-Blutspendedienst Nord-Ost said they had been encouraged by the Challenge and the Changers Fit app to use their bike more often and for longer distances. However, many of the DRK employees already belonged to the bicycle-enthusiasts before the Challenge, which is why the app and the Challenge did not change their cycling behavior to any great extent, according to information in the final survey.

In summary, the challenge and the use of the Changers Fit app show that awareness of sustainable mobility and smart cycling was being raised through the use of digital, game-based solutions. Baron concludes that the BITS goal of increasing bicycle use by 10% could be met on an average base.

Regarding the question of the effect of app-functions on the cycling behavior, Baron compared the different apps Ciclogreen and the Changers Fit app. Furthermore, Baron considered the app experiences, the realization from the evaluation recommendation workshop and also asked for feedback from the DRK employees, which functions/characteristics an app should have for motivating to cycle on a long term. Through these sources, Baron could conclude that reliability, precise recording and easy operation of a tracking app are very important factors for the motivation effect of a gamification and tracking app. This also includes the possibility for automatic recording for a good user experience. An easy registration and installation process, as well as team rankings and detailed statistics in the app also play a crucial role for the motivation to cycle.

The Research & Development team of Baron mobility is very happy about the positive results of all the pilots in the BITS project and would like to thank all participants of the three challenges as well as the cooperation partners Ciclogreen and Changers Fit.