At the Smarter Together General Assembly held in Sofia, Bulgaria from 12-13 March 2019, each city shared presentations about many aspects of the project covering the work done over the last three years. One of the success stories presented by Vienna was the pioneering of a programme called ‘Beat the Street’ with the citizens of the city.
The objective of the Beat the Street initiative is to promote a healthier lifestyle and encourage people to do more of their daily routines on foot. Beat the Street uses the ‘gamification’ model and makes an easy-to-play competitive game that also rewards participants for completing tasks. Smarter Together worked with SIMmobil and the Vienna School board, with the support of Mobiitats Agentur Wien, Intelligent Health, SIM Bike and StadtSchulRat to use this engaging game in order to get residents in the Simmering district moving in a healthy way.
The game involved students from local schools and their parents, where the children were given preregistered key rings and parents given a chip card to use at any of the ‘Beat Boxes’ placed around the targeted area. By tapping the beat box with the chip card, points were collected and kilometers travelled were registered to the participating child and the school team. Participants could walk, run or cycle from one beat box to another and collect points.
The project has been both very popular and very successful: over 20,000 participants took part in 2017 and 2018 combined, and the distances travelled by the children have been enough to circumnavigate the globe twice!
The results of Beat the Street have been positive for both Smarter Together and for the residents of Simmering. The initiative has shown the value of using gamification to encourage positive outcomes while giving children a fun experience and encouraging a healthy lifestyle at the same time. The success of Beat the Street has also made an impression beyond Vienna and preparations are being made to replicate it in Munich.