We know Beat the Street gets people to change from taking cars to walking and cycling to work and school and it appears that the effect lasts long after the Beat Boxes have been taken down. New habits are created during the live game which have their own intrinsic rewards of more time spent as a family, less stressful journeys, less congestion and happier children who arrive at school more ready to learn. New evidence on the how the game can effect carbon emissions has come from a recent project in Poland.
As Technical Support Partner to the EU-funded SWITCH campaign, Intelligent Health delivered two Beat the Street projects in the London Borough of Hounslow and in Gdansk, Poland. The central tenets of the SWITCH approach are that behaviour change is more likely to happen at key life-change moments (e.g. moving house or changing school) and that using health arguments and ICT tools can enhance that behaviour change. Beat the Street was one of the ICT approaches, alongside apps and website challenges, that was tested as part of SWITCH. The results of the campaign were presented at the SWITCH Final Conference in Bremen, Germany last month. We were delighted to see that Beat the Street was able to engage vast numbers of people in a way that other approaches often struggle to do. In Hounslow, 11,142 people took part in the campaign, making Beat the Street a much cheaper intervention than many apps which end up costing far more per person due to the low numbers who actually use them more than once.
The survey results from Hounslow indicate that:
-55% of people reported using the car less after taking part
-63% of people said they walked more because of Beat the Street
-When followed up 2 months later 70% of people said that they were still walking more
In Gdansk, over 78% of the population of the three schools that took part participated in the game: 4,269 people. Over 3,000 kilometres of car trips were replaced with walking and cycling trips which represents 630 kg of CO2 emissions averted. 67% said it had motivated them to use active travel modes more often and 29% said they were cycling more as a result even 2 months after the game ended.