In the spring of 2012, the City of Fredericia tested a new concept: a GPS-based bicycle relay race also known as ‘Cykelstafetten’. The experiences show potential for further development of the campaign.
By Troels Andersen, City of Fredericia
Like many other Danish cities, Fredericia wants more people to jump on a bike. Their goal is to reach a 25% modal share, but this requires new and more-effective measures. Previously, the municipality has run the children’s campaign ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ where GPS technology engaged the target group with great success. Therefore, the city decided to use the same yellow GPS units in an adult context: ‘Cykelstafetten’, or ‘Bike Relay Race’.
Ready, set, go!
25 GPS units were given to 25 citizens who would then bike for one day, upload the number of biked kilometres to a campaign website, and hand over the GPS to someone in their network. The team whose GPS had covered the most kilometres and had changed hands the most times won a prize. The campaign lasted for two months with 40 weekdays to bike in. Thus, ‘Cykelstafetten’ could potentially activate 1000 cyclists.
At the opening event, the captains received a GPS, entered their team on the website, and went on a bike ride. The captains were city councillors, local business leaders, and the editor of the local paper, for example. The website included an overview of all the teams and a map of their routes as well of the number of times the GPS had changed hands.
Positive results with room for improvement
During the two-month campaign, 220 people went on at least one bike ride. Thirty-three percent of the respondents in the evaluation answered that they had biked ‘more’ or ‘much more’ during the campaign. The campaign didn’t reach its ambitious goal of activating 1000 cyclists; however, ‘Cykelstafetten’ did reach its other goal, namely to create a program for adults based on GPS technology.
According to the evaluations, the primary challenge lay in recruiting participants to take over the GPS. The evaluations show that 30% had difficulties finding a new person to take it over. One way to solve this problem could be to prolong the recruiting process so captains could find team members in advance. This would have made it easier for individual participants. But, on the other hand, this would have reduced the free use of people’s network, which was one of the innovative aspects of the campaign. Facebook could also have been used to help organise the campaign.
Not all aspects of the campaign worked equally well, but the first year allowed the concept to be tested, and the experiences and evaluations of the first ‘Bike Relay Race’ have laid the ground for a continuation and development of a more consistent campaign in the coming years.
Category: Newsletter 9